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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. 🙂

In this image I exploit the checkerboard-patterning connotation of Victory (a checkered flag is waved when the first automobile crosses the finish line in certain international races) and I fill some of the whitespace with certain considerations. One less obvious consideration is the basic function-notation of algebraic variable x, conventionally rendered “f(x)” and pronounced “eff uv ecks.” It is a shorthand way of saying that a variable is being put through a process, perhaps, but not necessarily, describing something happening in the physical world.

2022 0528 ray liotta

field of scenes
(to the memory of ray liotta)

rest in performance
ray liotta
shoeless joe
and pesci’s con

in memoriam
next year’s oscars
will be saddest
when you’re on

you were un
believably believable
sleazy stalker
sweetheart friend

when that curtain falls
it’s tragic
fade to void but
love won’t end.

2022 0526 something to look at iii

Since “Abstract Expressionism” is too history-laden and just doesn’t seem like a good fit, I’ve come to call my not-quite-representational drawings and paintings my Something To Look Ats. They are visual experiences, celebrations of what art supplies can be compelled to do.

With that in mind, O Viewer, see what you want to see and don’t worry about what you are supposed to see. If it reminds you of something, that’s natural, and also unique to you. Another person will be reminded of something else.

2022 0523 ak15

Part of love of country includes acknoledgment and ownership of its failings. My country, the United States of America, has a shameful record of gun violence against schoolchildren. It goes back decades. And every time a fresh incident heartbreakingly occurs, the sellers and fanatical owners of guns trot out the same arguments, including “Guns don’t kill people–people do.”

Well, that’s nonsense. Guns literally WEAPONIZE people, enabling the evil and deranged to do far more grievous bodily harm than with just about anything. The gun makers strive to make the guns effective, and that includes ease of use, kill capacity, and, thanks to gun lobbyists, convenient to obtain.

The drawing I made today isn’t pretty. It is meant to not be pretty. This is an ugly side of my beloved country, and I do not wish to prettify it.

Our lawmakers have been more driven by profit motive and campaign chances than by common sense and true care for constituency. I have no money, no political influence, nothing but a voice and the heartbreak that drives it now. So this post is the utmost I can do. Readers, please, if you have the ear of lawmakers, please urge them to do the right thing and not the sleazy, money-grubbing thing.

Once again Elizabeth Valenzuela renders in poetic form a true slice of struggle and fulfillment in the world of the Unhoused.

Taylor
by Elizabeth Valenzuela

The woman met Taylor
During her visits with Dale at 
Affifa’s Adult Family Home

He sat on the front porch every Sunday
Reviewing the Sunday Advertisements
A magnifying glass in his hand

But still wearing his only pair of 
Eyeglasses
Both lenses shattered and yellowed with age

Dale would sell him one cigarette for a dollar
When Taylor asked him for one
But only if he was feeling generous

The woman started handing Taylor
Cigarettes behind Dale’s back
Sometimes one or two cigarettes and 
On special occasions
A full pack

In return Taylor
Who always had a pocketful of
Werther’s caramels
Would slyly pass her a caramel
When she walked past him on her way out

After Dale died
The woman continued to stop by and see Taylor

He had never had a visitor in all the years he lived there
Having been previously unhoused
This is how the friendship started and it 
Continued after James moved into
Dale’s old room
Serendipity in action
Déjà vu on display

In December Taylor showed her an ad
A remote control race car
He said he was Saving money to buy one

Santa brought him one for Christmas 
He and James played with that remote control car

Then Taylor had a heart attack

He was taken to the hospital 
He was unresponsive
He was in a coma for many weeks
No family came forward

The Hospital petitioned the Court to remove
Life support
Only the woman that stopped by for a daily visit
Stood vigil by his bed

The day the Court Order was issued
They transferred him to another room
And with him his photo
And information the woman had posted

So the hospital staff
Would know that Taylor was loved

The next few days
The woman sat by his side
Gently holding his hand
And telling him that she would be there if he lived
And that he would be ok
If he went
Toward the love
That was Waiting for him
On the other side

That it was all good
That he was loved

He was perfectly still in that hospital bed
Machines had been unplugged two days prior

One tear fell down his face
Silence
As the woman leaned in
To kiss his forehead

The next morning when she stopped by
His bed was empty

James and Taylor at Affifa’s Adult Family Home playing with Taylor’s remote control car
Taylor Doughty

2022 0514 wake time rest

Wake (TIME) Rest

“I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow…” Roethke

What a restless Night!!! Oh, dear
Ah, well–we will persevere
Keep the fate and make the mess
Ever hoping ever blest

Afterword: What does it mean to keep the Fate and not the Faith? Adam Clayton Powell, long ago, said “Keep the faith, Baby…and spread it gently.” My late, great Outlaw Uncle, Paul, sent me a condolence note in 1983 after my father died, and he hand-wrote “Keep the faith Gary” in it. Keeping the Fate is as close as I can get: keeping vertical, plugging away for betterment, trying to enjoy and engage and become to create the best Fate I can. Here’s hoping you also do joyful Fate-Keeping, Friends.