Monthly Archives: July 2012

Haiku for Days of July

7. Haiku July

July 1

Edgar Allen Poe,
Life crowded with fevered dreams,
Came to rest in Death.

July 2

Cat hides in tall grass
Waiting for a brown field mouse,
Cat’s in no hurry.

July 3

Crepe myrtle blooming,
Mockingbirds sing jazz solos,
Night folds around us.

July 4

Bonzai called Haiku,
Juniper with ancient stone,
In branches small words.

July 5

Steady work does it,
Line by line the pages fill,
Then comes the critic.

July 6

Frogs love cooling rain,
Toads prefer a hot humid night,
Bugs sing them to sleep.

July 7

At end of the day,
Most embrace the Land of Nod,
Their shift in DreamLand.

July 8

Gotta make the bed,
And put away my clean clothes,
And take out the trash.

July 9

Ancient manuscript,
A long ago shopping list,
Stick with the basics.

July 10

He hears nothing new
But his absence from the world,
Old wound but no scar.

July 11

Along the Border,
Mexicans are burning fields,
Smoke signals fill sky.

July 12

I’ve read your e-mail,
It’s clear you love another,
I’m sorry for him.

July 13

Garbage man was rude,
Tossing our barrel in air,
Is there no respect?

July 14

Odd fellow he was,
Walking on hands feet in air,
His frown was a smile.

July 15

You band of brothers,
Scavengers of the first rank,
What is your appeal?

July 16

Take me for a ride,
Somewhere out in the country,
Dry creeks & sage brush.

July 17

Birthday for Donnell,
Gift of ear by way of Eire,
Cheers for O’Brien.

July 18

Woke up one morning,
With a whole new attitude,
Forgot it by noon.

July 19

Deep thoughts jumpy mind,
Flickering abstract paintings,
String theory is true?

July 20

So many new books,
Our eyes grow tired and blurry,
Treasure the classics.

July 21

Flowering trees pink,
Butterfly swarm golden brown,
White clouds single file.

July 22

No stranger round here,
Visits at least once a day,
With told-you-so grin.

July 23

Let us make a pact,
No more violence till death,
Giving life to peace.

July 24

Opened the back door,
Big spider jumped in the house,
No manners at all.

July 25

Let’s begin again,
Scratching at the mystery,
Tracing it in ink.

July 26

Rare in the big things,
But common in the smallest,
Spirit smiles with us.

July 27

Stray cat picked our house,
Brought no I.D. or luggage,
Professional bum.

July 28

Near the waterfall,
Lives a very old poet,
Surrounded by books.

July 29

Script a little weak?
Call Doc Whammy for rescue,
Heart stopping shockers!

July 30

Butterfly meadow,
Stag stares me down from tree line,
Heat boils thick green weeds.

July 31

Honor the new day,
Open a vein for red ink,
Dip quill deep for truth.

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On Pacing Reading Experiences

Pacing…this is powerful stuff for many a reader. But it’s valuable and shouldn’t be dismissed. Reading cannot be neatly confined to a tagline summary. Reading is life itself in its many associations. The boundaries between a personal level of learning from reading and its more universal implications are porous and not clearly demarcated with neat lines. It’s perhaps more metaphorical, like fog banks or clouds or over the horizon reactions. Maybe it’s not a picture for you but more of a sound or musical quality as an inner ensemble of senses. Regardless, clearly reading reactions are infinitely various and for one I really appreciate a reader showing me a new way of reading and reacting. I mentioned before about first readings of classics…I was a reluctant reader…a typical guy leaning toward Verne and Poe and the Hardy Boys, etc. But when I finally was forced by a high school English teacher to read a serious “classic”…I broke on through to the other side. I labored through “Crime & Punishment”, actually came down with a feverish headache I so identified with Raskolnikov, and had to lie in bed for an afternoon when finished. After that I never questioned the value of so-called serious literature because I saw that these amazing stories gave me the gift of another person’s life experience. It was like a novel might act as a life lesson or cautionary tale and save me from really terrible mistakes in judgments about life decisions. It also gradually opened up the incredible world of introspection…putting words and feelings to experiences inarticulate in my own mind. Literature really does tap humanity’s deepest gossip about its lasting wells of wisdom.

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Post Apocalyptic Fiction Isn’t for Everyone

Post apocalyptic fiction isn’t for everyone. Cormac’s approach is a blend of horror, Old Testament death by fire and a strange lyrical beauty rising from this pilgrimage to some sort of possible resurrection. The atmosphere has a science fiction like quality, where the language rises into a kind of prophetic beauty and demands attention as to point of the whole effort of survival.

In truth since World War II and the nuclear bombs in Japan, the world has lived under the dark shadow of nuclear incineration; our psyches, regardless of conscious awareness, I believe have been paying a price of sufferance under this nightmarish possibility. With the grinding bleakness of current war politics, terrorism and seemingly hopeless and feckless political leadership to solve international violence, we are feeling the tug toward the apocalyptic scenarios embedded in our ancient sacred literature as well as featured relentlessly in popular horror and sci-fi genres.

Cormac McCarthy is tapping into this unconscious sea of worry and pushing the literary “take” to its incinerated Biblical limits (think too of this as another repeat of medieval crusade eras against Islam and their dark implications for Western survival). This novel was beautifully and horribly wrought and McCarthy took a big chance here. This effort could have come crashing down around his finely tuned ears, but the fact of the novel’s success critically (even apart from Oprah’s support) speaks the seriousness of our society’s worry about the very real possibility of nuclear and chemical eradication of Western civilization.

At the end McCarthy seems to suggest the child is a new chosen avatar of sorts, but given the extreme devastation…we current readers have no place in that future. We die with the father, a victim of the world weariness and failure of the previous civilization’s exhaustion. Clearly the message is difficult to absorb but McCarthy drove the literary nail straight into the neurotic spirit of our times.

Don’t play what’s there. Play what’s not there. —Miles DavisImage

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