Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Daddy, I Can See You

Pax domini..vobiscum……..(Father)

You, mild mannered man…………(crave me),
your quick temper hid from all…(save me),
watch communion plate pass hand to
hand Old Woman mutters what a good man
humble Loving Father lucky woman that she is -
forgive us our sins Preacher man!
Every Sunday starts out righteous - thank God!
for Wednesday nights are voices
crashing through closed doors
sharp as cracking! whips! and talk-in-tongues!
(heralding the binge once more)
O heavenly Jesus, save me
from your mild mannered man,
for I know only contempt -
holding his false image to my face -
wear your mask.

Janet Leigh

Intangible Icon

Intangible Icon

It is foggy
and drizzling.

It is wonderful
to be back
where there is space
to think
and to just

Even though
everything here is
in motion;
there is a constant change
and shift.

Rocks on which
I walked
are dust
No big earthquake,
just entropy.

I have learned
to not get
too attached
to physical things.

Alex Shapiro 2006.

Heart Traveler

Heart Traveler

I am always struck by the
grey, grey, grey,
dark grey
of this city
in winter.

At this time of year,
most any slice of color
that slaps the eyes
is manmade,
and usually advertising something
I am told to purchase
or experience.

only by default
at the Starbucks
below the hotel
to take refuge
in a cup of coffee,
I stare out
the pane glass window onto
42nd Street and 8th Avenue.

It is a sleety,
hard, cold, grim
kind of morning
and everyone who walks by
is clad in a dark coat
and an empty unhappy

But just beyond
their frozen faces
is a huge light-up TV billboard
pinned to the corner
of the Port Authority building’s
steel girders,
looping an advertisement
for something that appears
to offer an internet search service.

The product
that is being sold
is not entirely clear
to me, however,
because the images
have nothing to do with
the internet;
and in fact,
nothing to do
with where I am
right now.

They look just like
beautiful images
of the bright blue ocean,
and a surfer riding
a huge wave
on a short board.

This serene offering,
in the middle
of such an uninspired
and inhospitable
New York City block,
is at once
and appreciated—
but mostly

This view from
my Times Square hotel room
is a striking contrast
to the open space
my eyes have grown
so happy with
in adopted California.

Manhattan was my home
for my first 21 years,
so I am fascinated by
the mix of complicated emotions
each time
I navigate the city
as a wide-eyed tourist.

I mean
the streets are the same, but
the occupants have been
and when I return
in a few months
this will again
be so.

Maybe one needs to be
to watch change
in order
to take possession
of it.

Yet there is much here
that makes me smile;
for I am at home
and away
at once.

Alex Shapiro January 2006

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Silence Lost

Jean-Hans Arp once said:

"Soon silence will have passed into legend. Man has turned his back on silence. Day after day he invents machines and devices that increase noise and distract humanity for the essence of life, contemplation,meditation."

Those of us that have ever sat quietly in a mountain meadow, or a forest glen, or camped out on the desert, can attest that if we live in the cities, silence can be a stranger; something to get used to; and once accomplished, when we are more centered organisms, we mourn its loss as we edge back into the metropolis.


Maiden's Morn

Maiden’s Morn

Indian princess
with her long wet hair,
by the quiet pool
beneath a small waterfall;
playing her wooden flute,
in chorus
with the heady bird chatter
in the glen;
greeting the morning white
shafts of sunlight stabbing
through the thick
canopy of conifers.

She is in love,
and her mouth
on the reed
reflects her joy,
like her visage
in the deep clear water
beside her.

The music beckons,
and she is joined
by a young doe
with her spring fawn,
still tiny and spotted;
watching her,
as they stoop to drink
the cold beauty.

Robins and jays
flit about in tempestuous birdtag,
bouncing on low branches,
while high above
a black pair of crow
caw their throaty salutations
to the new day.

Glenn Buttkus April 2008



here it is;
At least,
one of many definitions
and examples.

We all seek it,
don’t we?
You never hear
someone say,
“I want you
to be unclear
with me”, or
Alex loves
her environment.”

I am constantly amazed
at just how nakedly
the water is
between the shore
by my house
and little Turn Island.

It is even clear
in the harbor,
where all the man-made
floating objects,
otherwise referred to
as boats,
might suggest
a murkier outcome;
what with bilges
and engines
and pump outs
and who-knows-what.

On an afternoon
like this,
where rain and sunshine
with each other
for meteorological control
over my life,
their battle is my reward—
stunningly beautiful

Alex Shapiro April 2008

Monday, April 28, 2008

The Cloudpump

The Cloudpump

the black-tinted World-Spirit blows from carafes
wind-legs spreadout like fin and
wing in water and air
so that he damns himself decomposer juggler of his
bones cottonwool bridges
he who rolls fruits and rolls birds across the sky
and grinds guidestones like an organ
thus we climb out of him nothing holds us back
and measure twelve bushels of shadow three ells of owls
and are fathomdeep rosegrass
he seduced the swan
he reversed the watershed
he makes neither flowers or ado
he carries a small glass cask

vain is the crown of his head and his mind and carries
mountains and lustre within
at dawn-red at cannon-messinger he must die along with
his core and choir and individual voice
and taps the tuning forks on the thin trunks of his bodies'
and mints his blood in small kettles
and splashes the angular night with stars
yes waxwardrobe weather-sheaf-chimes
and when someone doesn't want to there is someone who
wants to and must and can again and would like to and
fills the glasses to the rim and laughs and
neither feels nor smells the other therefore the cradles
rock quickly

Written by Hans/Jean Arp; founder of Dada.

Posted by Palmer April 2008

****Now that we have that straight, let's enjoy another fine dadaist poem by Hans Jean Arp:

Kaspar Is Dead by Jean Hans Arp

alas our good kaspar is dead.
who will bury a burning flag in the wings of the clouds who will pull
black wool over our eyes day by day.
who will turn the coffee mills in the primal barrel.
who will lure the idyllic roe from his petrified paperbag.
who will sneeze oceanliners unbrellas windudders beekeepers spindles
of ozone who will pick clean the pyramids' bones.
alas alas alas our good kaspar is dead. holy saint bong kaspar is dead.
the clappers raise heart-rending echoes of sorrow in the barns of the bells
when we murmur his name. therefore i will only sigh out his surname
kaspar kaspar kaspar.

why hast thou forsaken us. in what shape has thy lovely great soul taken
flight. hast thou changed to a star or a chain made of water in a tropical
whirlwind or a teat of black light or a transparent brick in a drum that
howls for its craggy existence.
now the soles of our feet and the crowns of our heads have dried up and
the fairies are lying half-charred on the funeral piles.
now the black bowling alleys thunder in back of the sun and no one is
setting a compass or spinning the wheelbarrow's wheels.
who will eat with the phosphorized rat on the lonely barefooted table.
who will chase the siroccoco devil that's trying to lead off our horses.
who will decipher the monograms scratched on the stars.
his bust shall adorn the mantels of people ennobled by truth through it
leaves but small comfort or snuff for his death's head.

Hey, I am starting to like this run-on free form style.




Late last night about to have a fit
Trying to write a new musical hit
Early in the morning, about a quarter to three
Picking on my guitar till my fingers bleed
I couldn't think of what it could be
Till i finally decided I could write about me
So, by golly, I've written an ode
Here it is my own genetic code

It's a big long string of chemical goo
All mooshed together in a sticky brew
It makes my nose and it makes my toes
And all that gooey stuff inside, I suppose
It makes my head, up under my hat
My brains too, I'm not sure about that
It's what puts my foot in front of my heel
It's what gives me my sex appeal

Four basic lumps thar come in pairs
Making the hip and making the squares
About a billion or so making you and me
Just a couple more than a chimpanzee
All twisted up in a great long rope
Making the mailman, making the pope
You've got some too, don't feel slighted
Just remember now mine's copyrighted.

Posted by Palmer April 2008

Hello Vera

Hello Vera

What balm for the bites have you
brought for me

What balm for bites you
brought to me

What balm
What lotion
What salve

For the burns I've got

For the burns you brought

Posted by Palmer April 2008

The Butterfly Incident

The Butterfly incident

A butterfly flashed into my face
A stopwatch image of colorful contrasts
Gold as the promise of love
Black as the trap of hate
Just an instant, then away
A slight smudge on my glasses
Where has it gone
Is it still alive?

Posted by Palmer April 2008



I used to keep my heart
Locked safe in a steel vault.
I've learned since then;
I've grown.

An imprisoned heart cannot breathe
Now I keep it in a bullet proof vest
Strong but flexible
I'm OK

Posted by Palmer April 2008

Hummingbirds at Home

Hummingbirds at Home

Sights set on wing back
ailerons set
duster at hand
ready jet go

buzzing buzzing set on fly

buzzing zig zag by
there to here and here to that
then zap!
upon daddy’s feathered hat

hum hum hum hum hum
hum hum hum

working over up and down
singing softly twirling round

busy bee won’t you come and see
busy busy
busy me

hum hum hum hum hum
hum hum hum

home home on the range
where the beers and the cant-a-dope lay
where the dears and the buffed halos roam
where hivedom is served by a drone in a herd
and the Queen is most haughty all day!

la la la la la

duster down shoes
mcn’s blue guitar blues
looking more polished and fine
than old torn Calvin Kleins
dust old Dougie’s bone
this old house is fallin’ down

HUM um um Um Um

um engage um um um um UM UM
landing gear um um
um watch out for the dear
om om om om om om om at home
home home on the range
where spilt food burned on the coil where it lay
where laundry and chores make Mom head for the door
she runs off with a neighborhood stray!

ha ha ha just aha kidding

at last the pollen count is down
cleanest nest in this whole town

ay ay on the range
um um um um um duster found down
look it over and shout
now bee don’t you doubt
that the skies are not cloudy all day!

Janet Leigh

Burned Bread

Burned Bread

God is a mad baker
so you must beware
of that man
with a mind narrow
as the streets in Portuguese

He dislikes,
perhaps even hates
himself, but
he doesn’t know it;
sadly ignorant
of why he quivers
in the presence
of his own shadow.

You may not
notice him,
invisible in the midst
of public places,
never holding anyone’s
never stepping off
never venturing out
at night without
a substantial light.

He will not glance
into mirrors,
because he fears
that within the cold depths
of that infinite glass,
his soul prowls,
dark and dangerous.

If he were to be
brazen or brave,
and peer long
into a looking glass,
he might actually see
and that icon
would surely destroy
or redesign
the person he thinks
he is; or has come
to be.

So he is very busy
reaching out
to all that pass,
stamping his false image
on the furrowed brows
of others,
like a postmaster
gone mad,
stamping, stamping,
like a man half-swallowed.

Damn Christ,
damn God,
for his edges
are black as char,
burned and brittle,
and no sleeve
is long enough
to cover them.

Glenn Buttkus 1965/2008

Imp's Romp

The other morning, Alex put another wonderful song clip on her blog site, entitled SonataScherzo @ 1:42. It was part of a much longer piano solo sonata that she published in 1997, sixteen minutes of cheery key rolls. This tiny piece of it kicked off my response:

Imp’s Romp

is the third piece
in a long sonata,
tinged with
“jazz-hued spikiness”,
something truly
sprightly and humorous,
approaching triple quick
as Alex says smiling,
“an impish romp
through bitonality
that ends
with a laugh.”

I heard
and saw
Nickelodeon days,
interspersed with
Scott Joplin rolls,
early century melodies;
starched white collars,
brightly striped shirts,
with colorful arm bands,
bowlers and straw hats,
thick moustaches,
spats and spit-shine,
ice cream socials,
dressing for church
and still commuting in wagons,
ladies in bonnets,
barber shop quartets;
brown mugs of foamy beer,
speak easys,
juke joints,
jazz and blues parenting
the rolling keys of boogey woogey;
at a time when America
could still laugh,
not seeing the approach
of either the War
to end all wars,
or the angony of Depression.

Glenn Buttkus April 2008

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Old Man's Dog

Old Man’s Dog

O let the long night winds blow
I hear Old Man’s dog howl down the road
then limps on
to yet another restless soul

past shadow-flits among tall trees
breezes whistle-play rust-rotted eaves
of this old house that’s not my home

silent figure slices through night’s dark
uncertain of the Old Dog’s bark
watching - waiting - agitating
then disappears from view

my house limps like Old Man’s Dog
inertia moving down the halls -
passing fears on floating ghosts
all remains are rotting bones

my soul picked clean from womb to tomb
no chance for change, no primal scream
no man’s best friend for me - alas
no St. Bernard to cross my path -
no freedom - no exit - no next dream

and tonight death is my soul’s repast.

Janet Leigh Revised 02.15.08

Dry Bones in Minnesota

Dry bones in Minnesota

You’d stand there arms crossed
in front, gathering your waist
with floured hands, a pause
from oven to table, your silhouette
perfectly framed in stained glass,
staring out over potted pansies,
eyes following the sagging line,
a clothesline too close to ground,
bird bath rimmed in chickadees,
dry bones and brittle branches,
skin cracked and peeling -
old birch out back reminds you,
your own sore dusted marrow.

You’d bend to tender roses hand picked
for you and he, now Grandpa’s Place,
a place which claims my roots,
in the yard out back among Queen Anne’s lace.
Thinking back now -
to earlier days of gathering;
lilies-of-the-valley, Becky, little bells &
cockleshells, kindling, and purple violets
placed within your favorite vase
upon the kitchen window shelf,
with little purpose hands,
where your tender gaze would rest
oh Grandma
how I miss you, and all of Braham’s nest.

Janet Leigh Dowd

What Sacagawea Meant To Me

One of my favorite poets, Sherman Alexie, a Native American son of Washington state, filmmaker, novelist, stand up comedian, historian, father, husband, and much more---published an article in TIME magazine on the annivesary of Lewis and Clark in 2002. Per usual, his prose and his mind cracked me up, challenged me, and broke my heart.
Alexie can be self-deprecating, more so than Woody Allen ever dreamed of, but somehow in the midst of his anger and his humor, his heart always speaks--and vibrates emotional chords in all who read him. He is a genius in that way.




Posted Sunday, June 30, 2002; 8:31 a.m. EST

In the future, every U.S. citizen will get to be Sacagawea for 15 minutes. For the low price of admission, every American, regardless of race, religion, gender and age, will climb through the portal into Sacagawea's Shoshone Indian brain. In the multicultural theme park called Sacagawea Land, you will be kidnapped as a child by the Hidatsa tribe and sold to Toussaint Charbonneau, the French-Canadian trader who will take you as one of his wives and father two of your children. Your first child, Jean-Baptiste, will be only a few months old as you carry him during your long journey with Lewis and Clark. The two captains will lead the adventure, fighting rivers, animals, weather and diseases for thousands of miles, and you will march right beside them. But you, the aboriginal multitasker, will also breast-feed. And at the end of your Sacagawea journey, you will be shown the exit and given a souvenir T shirt that reads, IF THE U.S. IS EDEN, THEN SACAGAWEA IS EVE.

Sacagawea is our mother. She is the first gene pair of the American DNA. In the beginning, she was the word, and the word was possibility. I revel in the wondrous possibilities of Sacagawea. It is good to be joyous in the presence of her spirit, because I hope she had moments of joy in what must have been a grueling life. This much is true: Sacagawea died of some mysterious illness when she was only in her 20s. Most illnesses were mysterious in the 19th century, but I suspect that Sacagawea's indigenous immune system was defenseless against an immigrant virus. Perhaps Lewis and Clark infected Sacagawea. If true, then certain postcolonial historians would argue that she was murdered not by germs but by colonists who carried those germs. I don't know much about the science of disease and immunities, but I know enough poetry to recognize that individual human beings are invaded and colonized by foreign bodies, just as individual civilizations are invaded and colonized by foreign bodies. In that sense, colonization might be a natural process, tragic and violent to be sure, but predictable and ordinary as well, and possibly necessary for the advance, however constructive and destructive, of all civilizations.

After all, Lewis and Clark's story has never been just the triumphant tale of two white men, no matter what the white historians might need to believe. Sacagawea was not the primary hero of this story either, no matter what the Native American historians and I might want to believe. The story of Lewis and Clark is also the story of the approximately 45 nameless and faceless first- and second-generation European Americans who joined the journey, then left or completed it, often without monetary or historical compensation. Considering the time and place, I imagine those 45 were illiterate, low-skilled laborers subject to managerial whims and 19th century downsizing. And it is most certainly the story of the black slave York, who also cast votes during this allegedly democratic adventure. It's even the story of Seaman, the domesticated Newfoundland dog who must have been a welcome and friendly presence and who survived the risk of becoming supper during one lean time or another. The Lewis and Clark Expedition was exactly the kind of multicultural, trigenerational, bigendered, animal-friendly, government-supported, partly French-Canadian project that should rightly be celebrated by liberals and castigated by conservatives.

In the end, I wonder if colonization might somehow be magical. After all, Miles Davis is the direct descendant of slaves and slave owners. Hank Williams is the direct descendant of poor whites and poorer Indians. In 1876 Emily Dickinson was writing her poems in an Amherst attic while Crazy Horse was killing Custer on the banks of the Little Big Horn. I remain stunned by these contradictions, by the successive generations of social, political and artistic mutations that can be so beautiful and painful. How did we get from there to here? This country somehow gave life to Maria Tallchief and Ted Bundy, to Geronimo and Joe McCarthy, to Nathan Bedford Forrest and Toni Morrison, to the Declaration of Independence and Executive Order No. 1066, to Cesar Chavez and Richard Nixon, to theme parks and national parks, to smallpox and the vaccine for smallpox.

As a Native American, I want to hate this country and its contradictions. I want to believe that Sacagawea hated this country and its contradictions. But this country exists, in whole and in part, because Sacagawea helped Lewis and Clark. In the land that came to be called Idaho, she acted as diplomat between her long-lost brother and the Lewis and Clark party. Why wouldn't she ask her brother and her tribe to take revenge against the men who had enslaved her? Sacagawea is a contradiction. Here in Seattle, I exist, in whole and in part, because a half-white man named James Cox fell in love with a Spokane Indian woman named Etta Adams and gave birth to my mother. I am a contradiction; I am Sacagawea.

Sherman Alexie is author of "The Toughest Indian in the World", a collection of stories, and director of "The Business of Fancydancing."

Dada Days

Dada Days

was an art movement
inspired by the insanity
of the 1st World war
when the world
(the ones left alive
after the guns
and the influenza)
were knocked silly
by that event.

It was as if
the artists involved
were saying
"if that's an example
of humankind's highest
most noble behavior,
then anything
can make sense."

We've gotten worse
since then.
has apparently
given up.

Doug Palmer April 2008

Saturday, April 26, 2008



Snowy egrets
are pretty solitary
around here,
to enjoy a meal
on their own
rather than have to
hold up their end
of a conversation
with a dinner partner.

You can spot them
from a long distance;
they’re very conspicuous
since there’s nothing nearby
that is remotely this

a very graceful bird
topped with
Vegas-style plumage
that would be the envy
of a showgirl—
the elegance ends
at its feet.

They are large,
with skinny webbed toes
painted a bright yellow;
and the only way
to describe
the comical way they walk,
is to envision
Harpo Marx ambulating,
or your choice of one
of the Three Stooges—
pretending to prowl around
and sneak up
on someone;
lifting each foot
with exaggeration,
and gingerly placing it
far ahead of their body.

The minister
of Silly Walks
has another
cabinet member—
eat you heart out,

Alex Shapiro 2006

Atlantian Minutia

Atlantian Minutia

The tide has pulled out
to a magnificent
minus 1.74,
and the receding water
leaves some
of the ocean’s most
wonderful creatures
and vulnerable.

The most colorful
are the Ochre Sea Stars,
who pile on top
of each other
in orgiastic glee.

The greenest secret
of this underworld
is the surfgrass,
in an Oceanic Ireland,
only revealed
a few hours
each month.

The first time
I ever saw
this sight,
I was stunned
by how vibrant
and land-like
these tough masses
of long slippery plants

Like an intimate conversation
with a lover,
who unexpectedly
shares something personal
and heartfelt
about themselves,
it is unspeakably special
to be allowed
to view
the private treasures
which lie beneath
the sea’s shiny,
liquid veneer.

that can be seen here
is normally
many feet underwater!

There is something
absolutely precious
about being given
the gift of seeing
those usually hidden
of the sea.

Alex Shapiro January 2006

Friday, April 25, 2008

Love, Can You See Me?

This lovely little poem appeared as part of a message sent to Alex Shapiro on her blog site. Since then Janet Leigh has become a regular reader and blogger of this modest literary site, and her work deserves more attention. She has already linked us to her website, and thanks for that dear lady.

Felician Fingers Strum

I watch Night settle over me
with the gentleness of sleeping baby
at its mother’s breast
and wonder where you are
……….and wonder where you are..
Somewhere on distant shores
Felician fingers strum a melody
the waves seem to carry out to sea
……….and wonder where you are
Don’t tell me you’ve never held the hand
of love - for just one moment -
as love has been your companion
for years untold
……….and wonder where you are.
Felician fingers strum our song
of Love and simple Truth
to ride the winds and search afar
and wonder where you are
……….and wonder where you are..

Janet Leigh

Ode to Soul

Ode to Soul

that light is
the Light,
exists apart
from belief,
can be seen
without knowledge
it is there -

you say
it’s not fair -

you might not see
the Light
in others,
they might not see
yours -

both burn bright,
you don’t need to know the Light to see it.

Janet Leigh

The Mounds of Destiny

The Mounds of Destiny

This area
is known as the
Mima Mounds.
It’s in
I think.

can figure out
what they are,
or how they
got there.

They are just
lumps of dirt;
in a larger sense,
aren’t we all?
With grass
growing on top.

Doug Palmer April 2008

Gnarly Tree

Gnarly Tree: Are You Me?

O Gnarly tree
O Gnarly tree
I feel just like
You look to me.

You flinch beside one
Straight and true
I wonder what hap-
pened to you.

The same amount
of soil and sun
Why are you the
Unlucky one?

O Gnarly tree
O Gnarly tree
It all seems so
unfair to me.

Will poetry month ever end?
How much of this stuff can you stand?

Doug Palmer April 2008

Man Writes Poem

This little bit of whimsey tickled the hell out of me. I hope you enjoy it:

Poem: "Man Writes Poem" by Jay Leeming, from Dynamite on a China Plate.© The Backwaters Press. Reprinted with permission.

Man Writes Poem

This just in a man has begun writing a poem
in a small room in Brooklyn. His curtains
are apparently blowing in the breeze. We go now
to our man Harry on the scene, what's

the story down there Harry? "Well Chuck
he has begun the second stanza and seems
to be doing fine, he's using a blue pen, most
poets these days use blue or black ink so blue

is a fine choice. His curtains are indeed blowing
in a breeze of some kind and what's more his radiator
is 'whistling' somewhat. No metaphors have been written yet,
but I'm sure he's rummaging around down there

in the tin cans of his soul and will turn up something
for us soon. Hang on—just breaking news here Chuck,
there are 'birds singing' outside his window, and a car
with a bad muffler has just gone by. Yes ... definitely

a confirmation on the singing birds." Excuse me Harry
but the poem seems to be taking on a very auditory quality
at this point wouldn't you say? "Yes Chuck, you're right,
but after years of experience I would hesitate to predict

exactly where this poem is going to go. Why I remember
being on the scene with Frost in '47, and with Stevens in '53,
and if there's one thing about poems these days it's that
hang on, something's happening here, he's just compared the curtains

to his mother, and he's described the radiator as 'Roaring deep
with the red walrus of History.' Now that's a key line,
especially appearing here, somewhat late in the poem,
when all of the similes are about to go home. In fact he seems

a bit knocked out with the effort of writing that line,
and who wouldn't be? Looks like ... yes, he's put down his pen
and has gone to brush his teeth. Back to you Chuck." Well
thanks Harry. Wow, the life of the artist. That's it for now,

but we'll keep you informed of more details as they arise.

And to think that most of we poets think of our writing as a "gift", something unique, that makes us special, different. Wait a minute, I hear eagles out my window here at the office on American Lake, a nesting pair, and the wind is whipping the fir trees something fierce, and one limb is thumping on the tile roof of our building, and a squirrel is chatterig and scolding something, and crows are complaining about the eagles, and the radiator here is popping, and these keys on the keyboard are humming and making odd clicking noises as my old fingers find a way to share, to delight, to challenge, and cajole others.


Thursday, April 24, 2008

Return To Sender #1 & #2

Return to Sender #1

return to sender
address unknown
may 1968/2007

Hello, my darlingest -

love missile received
aimed straight for my heart -
and I want you to know
I lie here in bed
most nights -
sculpting your face into view,
a habit I’ve learned to replace you,
your letters stopped coming
too soon.

Watching the news is unbearable,
when all I think of is losing

Your tenderness fades during news briefs
like poking my eye in your sleep,
but baby -
your poking elbow I miss,
and all your bad habits as well.

those azaleas bloomed!
hot pink splashed on fuchsia -
your favorite colors on me
said so yourself!
lickin’ lipstickedy luscious you purred.
Caught in a stare -
colors freeze an image -

another memory of us
out on the veranda smokin’ chicken
a la “I’ll take the potata in the back, Jack,
don’t like ‘em burrrrrrned, b-a-b-y!
and babe,
I feel burned
and crisp
and raw,
without the blanket of your love
wrapped around me tight
like roses clenched in my fist,
while our wedding guests danced round and round and
round us,
drunk on love and laughter!

and, baby,
that’s what I miss the most.
If I could “can” that stuff
I’d send a case or two
“for emergency only”

I wish I were there to recharge your fortitude.

Hello, my love - Return to Sender #2

return to sender
address unknown
june 1968/2007

Hello, my love -

looking at your photo
on your belly, rifle drawn
in jungle fatigues
is terrifying, hon…

Far cry from your get-up
in Mid-Summer Night’s Dream -
Thought I’d scrrreeeam when you lunged at me -
your tights drawn and sword up!

Twelfth Night was even better -
prancing around
in those damn leotards!
Amazing fence-faking back-breaking gyrations -
awkward at first like love-making,
and like love-making -
quickly finessed.

You Errol Flynned me
with your fencing skills -
epee poised and ready to prick
some dastardly bastard! but nooooo!
had to lunge! twist! thrust! and plunge!
skewering my couch pillow as I grimaced -
not for my heirloom -
it was fresh-kill face made me shudder.

Your face has that same look
as I study your eyes in this photo -
no sign of twisted tights or eat-shit grin,
no hint of prance or ballroom dance, dear,
this is a last-time face, darling..
not the love-soaked Nureyev eyes
…………..I knew before your first kill.

Janet Leigh 1968/1967

Ferry Fugue

Ferry Fugue

Home again,
home again,
just morning till
but still a delight,
parting the gray green waters,
churning up salty foam
under the bow,
passing fast
through sun breaks
and shadow,
getting a faint whiff
of the neighboring isles;
their beaches,
their forests,
their farms,
their kelp,
their driftwood.

There you stand,
spread-legged against
the wind,
with the big white deck
beneath you,
and the Sound’s spring chill
knifing through your long coat,
spreading out the tassles
on the end of your bright scarf;
wearing stylish sunglasses,
naively waiting for the sun;
tall collar up
like a spinnaker
before the breeze;
hands deep
in your warm pockets,
humming and smiling,
hearing those lovely melodies
winging to you
with the gulls,
and the soft thump-thump
of the great ship’s throbbing engine,
with the lilt of children’s
and the high pitched
woodwind bark
of someone’s lap dog.

Then you notice
that old man
in the Greek fisherman’s hat,
sitting back on a bench,
out of the breeze,
holding tightly onto
a colorfully wrapped
cafeteria sandwich
in his strong old hands.

But for now,
your dock
is in sight,
and you must
descend to the car deck,
and ready yourself
to clank over the metal planks
on your way
to greet Charles
and the cats.

Glenn Buttkus April 2008

Water Voyage

Water Voyage

Water Voyage
began life
for a soloist,
in a piece called
Water Crossing,
that was commissioned by
clarinetist Gerard Errante.

When Gerry told me
of his friendship
with clarinetist D. Gause,
and their duet recitals
it seemed natural
to create
a second part.

Years ago
Gerry told me
of his canoe,
tied up at the dock
by his home
on the Virginia coastline.

The thought of it,
waiting there
for him
made me imagine
a beautiful journey
beginning in still
lake-like waters.

During this mythical voyage,
the canoe gradually
into a sailboat
entering the open ocean,
with dolphins dancing
ahead of the bow.

By the end of the piece
we’ve returned safely
to shore;
and peaceful.

With this version
of the music,
there are now
two happy adventurers
in the canoe.

Alex Shapiro 2007

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Volusian Rhapsody

Volusian Rhapsody

The Volvo
used to be named
because the license plate
had a LVA
in it.

Since then
the plates have been
changed twice—
last time
it was LUU,
like Long-lasting Universal Umbrage,
or some such affect.

Now it is
make a name
out of that!
like Xenogenesis Granulomian Evelyn,
Evie for short?

How do you like
your brown-eyed
station wagon
Mr. Death?

Doug Palmer April 2008

Train Trip to Ruin

On the Beach Lass

At the beach,
tracks off the end
of the earth.
The choice—
sky or sea?
A lone figure

faces the sea—
where will it all
I take a picture
for you.

No Swedes Allowed

planked road,
foot traffic only—
Volvo cannot come
We look back
to our way

Look at
those hills,
those valleys!
The earth is not
no matter what
my uncle

Doug Palmer April 2008

Doug & Meredith are readying themselves for another trip, this one by train into Arizona to look at ruins and archeology and stuff. The weather should be good, and the traveling will be stress free. Good on them, enit!


Monday, April 21, 2008

Earthbound Sunward

Earthbound sunward

The seeds which are me
shall be scattered
to the winds
that I might be born again

in tree,
roots and branches reaching
ambidextrous soil to sun

in bird,
wings of God-given freedom
perfection of flight

in man,
mind of wit and reason
soul enclosed its might

how like a man

…………………….a bird

…………………………… a tree

my restless soul
reaching to be free.

Janet Leigh April 29, 2008

Dogwood Days

Dogwood Days

The dogwood
along the driveway
are turning white.
we have so many
beautiful trees and shrubs
around us.

The red bulbs
line our woods
in front of the stream
that flows
through our property;
pear trees
in the back yard
are whitening out,
and my little bleeding heart
has its little heart blossoms
beating to the rhythm
of the breeze
down the road.

Janet Leigh April 2008

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Spring's Path

Spring’s Path

You can have absolutely
no idea
where you’re going,
and still be
on a good path.

as I like to say,
when maps
have failed me,
it is I who has
failed the maps,
and I am walking
or driving around
in squiggles.

“I am not lost.
I just do not know
where I am!”
There is
a significant difference.

on my island
it snowed Friday
and this morning!
A few joyful flurries
late yesterday,
and a solid burst
in the middle of the night.

Heading back
from afternoon errands,
I had wanted to photograph
The thick white flakes
blowing sideways
against the spring green,
but neither my camera
nor my presence of mind
were handy.

was both
noun and verb,
and flew against
the kind of sunny sky
that makes you certain
a rainbow is near.

Like pieces of Styrofoam
driven by a wind machine,
fluffy, airborne alien visitors
landed on my hair
and windshield.

I watched them
for as long
as they remained intact,
and as they melted
into miniature puddles
I was reluctant
to say good-bye.

I tell you,
the path through Spring
winds in unknown
green, white,
and so much more.

Alex Shapiro April 20, 2008

Science & Religion

Science & Religion

is a matter
of measuring things
so governments
can find bigger
and better ways
to kill people.

is a matter
of convincing people
to pretend
they don't have to die.

They work together
to keep us all
cowering in fear
of one sort
or other.

Doug Palmer April 2008

ID Versus God

Here id the letter I sent to the Seattle Times in response to an article by a ID believer slamming science.

"Intelligent design" is not a theory. "Intelligent design" is a paradox.
If we need to invoke a "God" to explain the existence of complicated natural mechanisms, how do we explain this "God"?
If this "God" is more complicated than the things it creates, how was it created?
This line of logic leads to infinite regression.
If this "God" is less complicated than the things it creates, the "theory" disproves itself.

Doug Palmer April 2008

The Book Club

The Book Club

it's the book group.
I can't even remember
the book.
I read it,
but that was
last month.
And it's a whole new
ball game now!
A ball game
about which
I do not intend
to write haiku.

I'm sure
I enjoyed it.
Or pretended to.
Or perhaps
I hated it
but am too well bred
to make negative comments
about anything.
Or anybody.

So don't quote me.

Doug Palmer April 2008

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Alex's Archipelago

Alex’s Archipelago

I climbed the ladder,
squeezed myself
into the seat,
and placed the plugs
into my ears—
small plane,
very loud engine.

But the view
across the San Juans
is just incredible!

quiet terror
I feel
about hurtling myself
through the sky
in something
with a door slightly flimsier
than that of
an airline lavatory,
and a window
made of thin plastic,
that boasts
a ventilation hole
I can stick three fingers through—
that fear
when I look
out that window;
small plane—
in-flight movie.

Alex Shapiro April 2008

De Plane

De Plane

So there we stood,
the only two humans
in sight.

We were perched
on the very end
of a long dock
in the early morning hours,
staring out to nothing
but water
and little green isles.

My gaze drifted
to the sky
as I searched for
the tiny float plane
that was to snag me
off the island
and bring me to Seattle,
from where
I’d then fly
to Los Angeles.

I didn’t need to bother
looking up,
since any engine sound
would shred
the absolute silence.

But look up I did,
again and again,
wondering when the plane
might finally arrive—
and wondering why
I would ever want
to leave this

As my ride
finally appeared
out of the clouds,
Charles and I
Couldn’t avoid joking
In goofy accents;
“De plane, de plane!”

And then de plane
made a landing
on the still water,
much as a cormorant
comes in for one;
watch it…
lower, lower…

Alex Shapiro April 2008

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


I suppose I should, but I still refuse to apologize for the following.

The fog rolls in on little cat feet -
Takes a dump in the bay -
Then runs around like a crazy thing -
Chasing nothing.

I must away to the toilet go -
Perhaps to take a leak -
What once was a mighty river flow -
Is now a dribbling creek -

I must go down to the garage again -
Where the lonely Volvo beds -
And all I ask is a good stout wrench -
Faith, courage, and leverage.

Living my freeze dried life -
A spoonful and water makes Thursday -
A spoonful and water makes Friday -
It's easy.

If you are a young man and still full of it -
The symbols mean one thing -
If you are an old man and damn near through with it
The symbols mean other things

So leave me alone, leave me alone.

I was young -
I would rule the world -
With my own brilliant hand -
But I had to sell my lever -
To rent a place to stand.


You cannot stop the river's flow -

Doug Palmer April 2008
Poetry Month for you that do not know.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

When the Sky Weeps

When the Sky Weeps


Director John Huston had the vision, and his images were taunt, stark, choked in white dust, and bathed in high desert darkness. Arthur Miller wrote the screenplay, possibly as a birthday present for his wife, Marilyn Monroe; a panegyric valentine to salve the pain of her recent miscarriage. Regardless, Miller wrote a powerful tale, something transcendent. He was out to slay the myth of the macho western; creating three male characters named Gay, Guido, and Percy; men that bonded, and held their fears at arm's length. These men feared commitment, and they cherished their freedom at the sacrifice of everything and everyone in their wake.
In its day, this movie was the most expensive black-and-white film ever produced. Critics praised it and panned it equally, but all of them secretly viewed it countless times. It grows on you; like loving a plain woman. It becomes more beautiful, significant, and sensitive as you get to know it. It is multi-layered, and it was packaged magnificently. Russell Metty's cinematography was brilliant B&W; reminiscent of the best of James Wong Howe. Alex North's score was colorful, touching our emotional core like the fluttering of angel's wings one moment, and then jolting us with a bombastic jazzy penetrating throb the next.

Gay: Honey, we all got to go sometime, reason or no reason. Dyin's as natural as livin'. The man who's afraid to die is too afraid to live.

Oh Arthur Miller, you prophet, you sooth sayer. Gable died. Clift died. Monroe died. This was their last film. Only the hedonist Huston and the irrascible Wallach lived on.

Gay: Oh, I like educated women alright. But theyr'e always trying to figure out what we're thinkin'. Did you ever get to know a man better by askin' him questions?
Roslyn: What do you do with yourself?
Gay: Just live.
Roslyn: How do you just live?
Gay: Well, you start by goin' to sleep. You get up when you feel like it. You scratch yourself. You fry yourself some eggs. You see what kind of a day it is. You throw stones at a can. You whistle. You know, sometimes when a person don't know what to do, the best thing to do is just stand still. Let's just live.

The cast has been called," Miller's beautiful losers ", and "Huston's heart attack ", and they were both of those things. Clark Gable gave a magnificent performance; sun-creased, visceral, raw, and unfettered. He played Gay, a malcontent that preyed on divorcees and wild mustangs, always looking for that free ride, and expending his entire supply of virility and youth in the process. It is fitting that this performance was the capstone for is career, because with this role he shared secret parts of his persona that previously had been unexplored.

Gay: Nothing can live unless something dies. I herd these horses so I can keep myself free. So I'm a free man. That's why you like me, isn't it? If it's bad, then maybe you have to take a little of the bad with the good. Or else you'll be running for the rest of your life.

Gay: Don't want anybody makin' up my mind for me, that's all. Damn 'em all. Changed it. They changed it all around. Smeared it over with blood. I'm finished with it. It's like ropin' a dream now. I just got to find another way to be alive...if there is one anymore.

Much has been written about Marilyn Monroe's performance. Her dramatic work in BUS STOP, and NIAGARA touched on her potential, but only in this film did she give an indication of her true range. Yet, sadly, it showcased her limitations as an actress as well. The role was written for her, and it fit her like a tight dress. Her " You are only happy when you can watch something die." monologue was bravura, but forced. She could have used a few more classes at the Actor's Studio. MM's character, Roslyn was beautiful, vulnerable, lost, fragile, yet manipulative....all qualities MM could play in her sleep; but she was also genuine, sweet, loving, and real in a way we had never seen before. The chemistry between herself and Gable was a slow burn, but just re-watch the scene in the morning in Guido's house, observe the smooth sexuality and genuineness of emotion. MM showed a naked breast in that scene. The censors snipped it, but Huston had filmed it. America was not ready for nudity in 1961, but Marilyn Monroe was.

Gay: Knowin' things don't matter much. What you got Roslyn is a lot more important. What happens to anybody happens to you. You're really hooked into the whole thing, Roslyn. It's a gift.
Roslyn: People say I'm just nervous.
Gay: If it weren't for nervous people in the world, we'd still be eating each other.

Gay: What makes you so sad? You're the saddest girl I ever met.
Roslyn:You're the first man who's ever said that. I'm usually told how happy I am.
Gay: That's because you make a man feel happy.

Roslyn: You never had any idea, huh?
Gay: Nah, you know in those days I thought you got married and that was it--but nothing is it; not forever.
Roslyn: Did you ever think about getting married again?
Gay: Oh, I think about it; never in daylight.

Roslyn: We're all dyin', aren't we? We're not teaching each other what we really know, are we? You could blow up the whole world and end up feeling sorry for yourself!

(last lines)
Gay: You're a real beautiful woman. It's almost kind of an honor sittin' next to you. That's my true feelin's, Roslyn.
Roslyn: Which way is home?
Gay: God bless you girl.
Roslyn: How do you find your way back in the dark?
Gay: Just head for that big star straight on. The highway's under it. It'll take us right home.

Eli Wallach was a clenched fist as Guido, the tow truck driver, and sometimes pilot. It broke our hearts to watch his ragged yearnings, and to realize that he would never get the girl, and he would never finish building his house.

Gay: What's eating you?
Guido: Just my life.

Guido: She wasn't like any other woman. Stood by me 1005, uncomplaining as a tree.
Roslyn: Maybe that's what killed her.

Guido: You have the gift for life, Roslyn. The rest of us, we're just looking for a place to hide and watch it all go by.

Thelma Ritter was all wisecrack and wit, and deserved an Oscar for her supporting role; nominated five times in her career, although not for this film, she never won the golden nude. She was a nice juxtaposition to MM's ice angel.

Isabella: Welcome to Nevada--the Leave It State. You got money you want to gamble? Leave it here. You got a wife you wanna' git rid of? Get rid of her here. Extra atom bombs you don't need? Blow them up here. Nobody's going to mind in the slightest. The slogan of Nevada is: Anything goes. But don't complain if it went.

Isabella: One thing about this town, it's always full of interesting people.

Isabella: Cowboys are the last real men left in the world. And they're about as reliable as jack rabbits.

Isabella: I can smell a cowboy. I can smell the look in your face. But I love every miserable one of you---course you're all good for nothin'

James Barton was a wonderful drunk in the bar scene. Gable should have paid more attention to him. A later scene in which Gable is supposed to be inebriated, calling for his children, is the one false note in his performance.

Montgomery Clift as Perce, was one of the walking wounded, banged-up; a bruised soul. Much has been noted about his mental state during the filming, and his medical issues; but somehow Clift made it work for his character. The scene where he lies his head in Roselyn's lap is very touching. His effeminate weakness splashed hard up against the worn leather of Gable's face, and the raw power of Wallach's passion. It was the perfect counterpoint.

Perce: Are you disrespecting me?

Perce: After my father died, my new stepfather asked me to stay, but he offered me wages; wages to work on my own place.

Perce: How come you got such trust in your eyes, like you was just born?

Perce: So what I want to know is: who do you depend on?
Roslyn: I don't know. Maybe al there really is is just the next thing. The next thing that happens. Maybe you're not supposed to remember anybody's promises.
Perce: Do you belong to Gay?
Roslyn: I don't know where I belong.

Nevada's high desert landscape was treated like another character, and filmed like one. We are haunted by images of the horse hunt, a creaky biplane herding them down out of the canyons, and pushing them out onto the salt flats, where the men and ropes waited. Short stocky spirited mustangs, desert horses, galloping hard, breathing their last few gasps of freedom before the men captured them, tied them down to old truck tires; preparing them for their final journey to the slaughter house, ending up as food for poodles and bull dogs.

The metaphors and symbols intertwine, men and mustangs, freedom, isolation, loneliness, and desperation. But the sadness permeating the characters within the story was beautifully balanced out with the gentle stirrings of love. That slim chance that Gay and Roselyn will have a healthy relationship. We want it to happen. We hope it will happen, even though we fear that those character might backslide and pull apart. The fade out is very upbeat; a warm breath expelled with heads tilted up, still searching for truth amongst the stars of a clear desert night sky.

Glenn Buttkus 2002

Monday, April 14, 2008

Chapel Moment

Chapel Moment

After the intermission,
the stained glass windows
were opened,
and breezes fluttered
and raw sun rebounded,
all equally angled,
as is its wont,
off the bright yellow socks
of an internationally recognized

Doug Palmer April 2008

Friday, April 11, 2008


Works for me.
the toolbar is just above where you write your post, under the title bar
there's a b, an i, a green thing, a quotation mark, a spell check check, a square picture thingy, and an add video square thing.
If you hold the pointer on each thing for a while, it will tell you what it does.
Try it again.

Look deep into my eyes
You are getting sleepy.

How to post pics

To post pictures, go to new post,push the picture button (next to the last on the tool bar) and follow instructions.
e.g. browse your computer for gifs or jpgs and upload them. Hit the "done" button when it pops up and Bob's some sort of secondary familial relation of yours. (What are those Brits talking about anyway?)

Spending Time with Janet Leigh

For those readers who want to get involved with an outstanding poetry blog, and all around literary site, do yourself a favor and click onto and you will come to POETMEISTER...THE ROAD TO PARNASSUS. Janet is the mistress of all forms of poetry, and her haiku is especially well written. She loves to have visitors, and reciprocates by checking out your blog,if you have one as well. She responds to every comment left on her site. She is very interesting person, and a very talented poet. She was named after the wonderful actress who married Tony Curtis, and whelped Jamie Lee. I always thought, even back in the 50's, that "she" was too good for him, with his swaggering good lookings, his womanizing, and acting talent that barely blossomed after 20 years experience.



Doug Palmer waxed poetic back a few years when discussing his lost love for Ms. Emily Dickenson. He has been a closet poet, even a dog poet, for decades. Only now, on this blog site has he dared enter the area of poetry, and let his lines dangle for all to peruse.


People of higher intelligence
by definition
live in a world
of fools.

They also have
the equipment
for irony, sarcasm
and other double-edged
coping mechanisms.

Who knows,
maybe there are
those smarter than us
who have developed
even more sophisticated methods
in order to deal
with our stupidity.

Our souls may soar
but our feet
are still covered in mud.

Doug Palmer 2006