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Monthly Archives: July 2022

2022 0726 duolithicus

Once upon a time an old man sat at his kitchen table and stared at the smooth, white stone resting on his powder-blue tablecloth. For approximately the fifteen thousandth time he tried to use the power of his mind to lift the stone gently off the cloth. He stared at the stone until an afterimage-ridge of it seemed to make the stone vibrate. It did not budge. It never had except for once, and that was due to a mild earthquake, giving it a wobble that made his heart jump until other earthquakey stuff happened.

His mind had never made it budge, but the man never gave up, and when he grew old the attempted stone-lift became a comforting part of his evening ritual. Tonight, as ever, he gave up his efforts after a few seconds, sighed, sighed  a little more contentedly, and put the stone back on top of the breadbox.

This night did turn out to be different, though, for after he turned in for the night the stone visited him in a dream. He was floating in an odd, chaotic space, and the stone floated too, about eighteen inches from his face, and spoke to him.

“Why do you waste your time with me?” the stone asked, using a voice similar to that of British actor Terence Stamp.

“It’s not a waste of time. Every time I try to lift you I get a little stronger. I can feel it.”

“You won’t lift me with strength, man,” said the stone in the voice of comedian Stephen Wright. “What you need is Knowledge.

“You don’t even know what I am. I’m Feldspar. I’m smooth because I was in a river for a few hundred years. Hard though I am, I eroded.

“And when you try to lift me you use an imaginary hand. You don’t have an imaginary hand and you never will. The only way you have the least hope of lifting me is if you work with me. I have plenty of ergs to supply the lift. All you need do is exploit my crystalling subatomics. Do that right and I become a nifty little hovercraft.”

“Stone, you talk like you have a brain and a mouth. You don’t. What gives?”

“Dude,” said the stone in a Jeff Bridges voice,”you’re having what is called a lucid dream. NO, I don’t have a brain, but I’m using yours. And I’m using your memory of other voices.

“But I’m also using myself. I am a stone, but when I am near you, I am also part of the stone part of you. You know about Monoliths. You and I together, with our special connection, are Duolithic.”

“Sounds like crap.”

“Wake up,” said the voice of Morgan Freeman. The man opened his eyes. The stone floated before him, then rose, and the man rose too, They passed through the ceiling, then roof shingles, then the stratosphere. Reality bent into a harsh monochromatic superspace, the man silhouetted, the stone became monolith-like and brighter, and threw off subselves. “Your life,” said the pulsing stoneblock, “has more holding it together than you can possibly imagine. Don’t waste it.” There was a crescendo of driving noice and a flash of All. “NOW wake up.”

The man opened his eyes. He was in bed. He went to the kitchen. The stone on top of the breadbox looked different. It was luminous, with pulsing golden flashes under its surface. They were fading. And after a minute or so the stone looked like it always had.

“Rise,” said the man to the stone. And it rose.

2022 0714 poet composing

On my Facebook feed there was a post from a friend of mine saying to the world, “What are you up to? Send a picture!” And what I was up to was composing a poem. So I took a picture of myself staring into the Heavens looking for the words, and attached it to my comment “Composing a poem” on her post.

But the picture…it was different from the other self-portraits I’ve done. So I drew it in HB pencil, and for background put some of the words and some of the self-instructions I’d come up with in the course of composing “Bouquet of Bouquets.” Here is the poem:

Bouquet of Bouquets
Spring wildflowers in a jam jar
FTD delivery twelve long-stemmed roses
A deliberately clumsy Picasso drawing
Cumulonimbus clouds carved by fighter jets
Coffee-charged notes with the nails
Fireworks bursts frozen in time
Acne rosacea on Grandfather’s bulbous nose
Football players breaking from a huddle
The grins of Clark Gable and some of his pals
Arpeggios in a Bach fugue
A dozen cocoons cracking open
A troupe of ballerinas with emotional issues
Flowering
May be empowering
And well-timed bouqueting
Spiritually swaying.

****

Just another day in the life of an oldish codger who every so often takes the pressure off the urge to express by looking into the Heavens, writing down stuff, and sometimes illustrating what he’s written.

feel

the new shoes are good
but they will get better
when my feet teach them
to relax

shoes have a life cycle:
breakin
steady state
golden age
pronation sole
pebble sensitivity
ow
trashcan farewell

if the shoe is not quadruple-E wide
“side-slopover” obtains

between “golden age”
and “pronation sole”

shod or not we get a feel of the Earth
through our feet
and the best shoes can sense the magma
churning away deepdown
and feel the energy
and draw power from it

the worst shoes feel wrong
disown the Earth and lead you astray
into that badly hicked town Blisterville
and her sister city Straitjacket

these new shoes are young promising pups
that keep the dogs from barking
whilst embarking

2022 0704 see who won

There are two word games I play daily on the Internet. One is Words With Friends 2, a fancier version of the Scrabble-derived Words With Friends, and the other is Boggle. I play Words With Friends mostly with a handful of people I know in real life. Boggle I play in tournaments and with individuals, and I play anyone, which can be downright humbling when up against a player far better than I am. WWF2 and Boggle are made by the same game-maker, and one of the similarities is that at the end of a game a player is invited to “See who won!”

See Who Won turns out to be a perfect triple-acrostic spine, so I gave it a whirl. It’s really hard to read the acrostic poem in the image above, so here is a transcription, lightly edited for clarity.

see who won

sissy fuss is how we grow
enterprise and march and go
endocrines ahoy — c’est bon

For fifteen and a half words, there is a lot to unpack. “Sissy fuss” is a bad pun of Sisyphus, the poor guy of Greek myth who is condemned to eternally roll a burdensome stone up a hill. “Resistance training” found in many gyms and fitness centers is downright Sisyphean. You push and pull and climb and run a treadmill and never get anywhere. Even so, you gain muscle mass and you make more efficient use of oxygen. So going nowhere gets you somewhere, and if you’re blessed with good biomechanics and work ethic, you may find yourself in competitions. And some of the biggest Sissy Fusses ever made are at competitions.  One such just occurred at Wimbledon, and two players were fined.

It takes enterprise to succeed. Inherited wealth is not success.  Making the world a better place is, and it makes you a better person to boot. If you have life goals, it helps to march toward them resolutely.

As for endocrines, here’s a quotation for hopkinsmedicine dot org: “The endocrine system is a complex network of glands and organs. It uses hormones to control and coordinate your body’s metabolism, energy level, reproduction, growth and development, and response to injury, stress, and mood.” No one succeeds without a contribution from their endocrine system. “C’est bon” is French for “This is good.”

My drawing is meant to be a mysterious metaphor for winning and winners. I apologize for the murk–I both underworked and overworked my penciling. I imposed a deadline for myself of today, and got a little too ambitious with the implied planets and archetypical competitors and pseudo-calligraphy and such. But if you look carefully you’ll find a niftily drawn cat, and the clear message that felines are born winners.

I can’t think of a better way to be a winner than by practicing the wisdom imparted by George Carlin as Rufus in the Bill & Ted movies. “Be Excellent To Each Other,” Friends! 🙂

2022 0701 life erasures
Here is an oddness: This is the final version of a drawing which by definition is unfinished. Titled “Life as a Series of Erasures,” the drawing itself has been extensively erased., redrawn, erased again. The roots of this approach may be thought by some to have been planted by Robert Rauschenberg, who erased a Willem de Kooning drawing to make a point about the Ephemeral (my guess as to what he was up to,  anyway), but centuries previous Rembrandt had taken an etching of his which had an extensively-drawn crowd scene, and taken his scraper to completely eliminate his hours and hours of drawing. Prints of both states still exist. Was Robert R riffing on Rembrandt? He’s not around to answer.

There are four acrostic poems-in-the-making in this drawing. They are all double acrostics, with spines/titles “Denude/Bemoan,: “Resist/Desist,” “Derail/Detain,” “Repeat/Defeat.” Note that on the drawing the third title appears to be “Detail/Detain.” “Derail” is better. ERasure and redrawing would be done, were this drawing not finished.

Derail/Detain

Deride the Women; Hand the Maid
Ensconce the sex in marmalade
Release the Kraken mon petit
And have another cup of sea
I wish for Love and get mere Sin–I
Lost my will to re-begi

This poem is a protest against the recent US Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe v. Wade. “Release the Kraken” was a command issued by Ginni Thomas, wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, as part of the events surrounding the January 6, 2021 insurrection. There’s a tip of the hat to Margaret Atwood and her The Handmaid’s Tale. There’s also an implicit nod to now-deceased Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who has been roundly betrayed by certain recently-appointed Supreme Court Justices, as well as by Justice Thomas, who is itching to turn back the clock further with more reversals. Two-thirds of the Supreme Court is politically hacking for the Repulican Party now. This is what we have come to.

On the positive side, outraged women across the country are protesting, and the pendulum may well swing again in my lifetime. I hope so. The little I can do to further that swing of the pendulum is right here, and you are reading and seeing it, Friends.

Life IS a series of erasures. At its best it erases Injustice and redraws Betterment. Let us strive to choose our erasures in the favor of honesty, decency, and lovingkindness.

Final note: under the word Defeat in the lower right-hand corner is a question mark, and underneath that, the answer “NO!!” NEVER give up, Friends. Ever. 🙂