Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Brand New Volumes in the Children's Book Series by Ana Isabel Ordonez

From Ana Isabel Ordonez we have two new volumes in her funny and instructive Children's Book Series. From the original story of life as captive in a zoo and a brave escape to the Musical Forest, after further heroic and funny sets of adventures, we go happily to Volume VII, Aye Aye and Euricoty go to Space (Ruby Flower Books).

Like all the books in the series the latest has a whimsical and enchanted aura about it, in no small part thanks to the hand crafted primal artwork Ana has created for the story, with a freshness and candor that will doubtless appeal to young audiences. And so too the story line is typical of the series. Imaginative and luxuriously offbeat humor and dramatic chutzpa join together with didactic science education.

Essentially the story of Aye Aye and Euricoty go to Space is about an unplanned cosmic journey that results when Aye Aye and her sidekick the cockroach friend and companion Euricoty wander unwittingly into a spaceship and find themselves blasted off and outward bond into the nether regions of space.

As they travel boundlessly outwards the readers learn some important facts about our universe, its extent and the state-of-the-art of scientific thinking on astronomy and astrophysics. A goodly amount of information is woven into the tale and the humor and whimsicality at the same time will enliven and enchant the info and allow children to laugh, be entertained and be edified. Those initiated thus far into the entire series will happily follow the story as it takes a very imaginative and unexpected path. On the other hand those who are new to the Aye Aye saga will no doubt jump right in with no loss of meaning.

The other volume in the series that is now available is the 8th: Fedor, the Tsunami and Cinico Forest. This one moves ahead to Fedor's encounter with the Tsunami and his wave riding departure to the Cinico Forest. Like the other volumes it has whimsical and disarming humor that will certainly appeal, and in this instance the importance of protecting endangered species is the moral of the tale, something all eco-planetary minded parents will appreciate as part of their children's didactical education.

And in the end the most compelling reason why these books will be good for your kids is that they do NOT talk down to them. They assume the kid reader is smart enough to understand a good story and the scientific and natural awareness that each tale imparts. I recommend you try these and get your kid interested in lifetime learning! Amen to that! This is one-of-a-kind fare that any intelligent child will embrace. These new volumes and the entire series is available on Amazon.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

First Supper with the Drone Dream Ballerina

Walk him to the gates of time
Where she will join and embrace,
Breathe in the freshets of finitude,
Fill his cup with immortal wine
While the festive fires command his unwavering gaze,
That would be without a before,
Without the azure lining of his searching vision, 
His mind machining
Unbeckoned, intervening,
Nothing stands in the way now,
Understand at last,
And take possession of the never before,
There-at in a new once-at  the Ballerina appears,
Stands still at the ready,
Ring the dinner bells,
Unfurl the cloth napkin,
Gently place on lap,
The wine intoxicates,
Nothing is where it used to be,
Watch the blue-yellow glow of the candle flame,
Sky in the center, 
Sun surrounding top,
A greeting of welcome,
He has tasted of nothing else always,
And yet he knew nothing of the source until now,
Stop dreaming.
The future stands before you.
Once upon a time.
Do eat in memory of the that to come.
It was the first of the last Ballerina Dreams
Had by Calvin Otten, Jr.

--Possibly the opening to my forthcoming prose-poem-novel 
"Final Dream Drones of the Pastoral Ballerina," which is coming soon

Thursday, February 15, 2018

The Gummy Maple-Bubblegum Smell of Spring to COME

Moby Grape
Moby Duck
Friar Lawrence
Friar Tuck (and that rhymes with Cluck)
Juliet and her Sleepytime Pal
Andy Panda Parker (and his Orchestra)
Seasons and seasoning
Reasons and reasoning
Not the nightingale but the lark
For it is day and not so freaking dark!

Not now though.
It is time for the
of driving forth
To Cardiolog Heaben

The gummy smell of fresh baseball cards!
Spring ahead!

Cardiolog Heaben is fun
EKG's wiggle like ants in the sun and say
Oh goodie! Nobody's gonna die now!

If what might be will be Squirrels will fall from trees Stray cats go down on knees Happy cinnamon will fall into the pot Joy to be what is and not what not cinnaminson nj will become the omphalos say what? Gummy sap from maple tree Woodpeckers will savor If they please Sparrows perch upon the eaves The song of singing of spiritsinging these that everything said will make the season ahead Cardiolog Heaben Come storm Come filling out forms Fresh air lifelaughter Opening Day Come

Sunday, May 21, 2017

What Have We Lost?

It all really happened.
And we are still reeling with it
Almost a year later.
The unthinkable, after 30 years,
Hard work. . .
Pointless in the end.
Nobody told us
Enough about the Great Depression.

So the bank took nearly all,
most of the rest we had to leave behind
In the scramble to try and salvage our life
Lost life savings, so much of what we used
To furnish our minds and hearts.

"Your home is so warm," meaning filled with love.
Some friend once said.
But then love was embedded in the thingness,
And that cannot stand forever.
Now all is gone.
Did love still travel with us?

Thankful to family who allowed us to stay
In a new room, room-a-tomb, room with a view
of grass and birds, anyway.
And kindness.
At last.

When I meet someone
And they like me
I now ask
"Why would anyone like ME?
There must be some mistake."
Thanks to Freud, my mother, life.
The toys I left out in the rain,
I am suspicious.
Who would love
A worthless hole like me?
Pretty sure nobody.
I am a jerk.
What am I saying.
Not true,
But I feel it
every day.

Thank you economy,
That brought me down to nothing.

Thank you culture
who has no time for eternity
or more than a single phrase,
three minutes of music and done
On to the next distraction that leaves no trace
on life but goes quickly
and so the better as product
in its need. You do not need me or anyone
in the end.
you do not
care. Why?

Thank you life
that dispenses love
like there is not
enough to go around...
One bite per decade.

What is a spotless human?
It is a state of consciousness.
Otherwise we are all bacteria and stink,
Shit, piss, and an empty stomach
We fill each day.
Pheromones and feces
Saliva and salty blood,
The flies find it all exciting.
Pointless, really.
But central to our existence.
We must be the animal,
It is in us.
The script is written,
We follow, willy nilly.

Who us? Clean, clear.
Mostly good habits.
Just folks I guess.

More, there is more,
We are what else is inside, after all,
And what IS inside us?
Other than the animal?
What is worth bringing outside?
What drama do we bring to our lives?
And what is underneath it all?
I cannot say.

But those last days are hard to forget
and that ten year period of
The economics of a not-so-steady state
As a not-so-open system
Closed its grip on us and rightfully
took back all that we never really owned
While the ultra-rich got a bailout
Friends scattered, alienated, dead
Everything gone, all of it
Suddenly old and in the way
Though we are not old yet
Saturday nights of lonely despair
Not minding the poverty so much as the total isolation
Music in a vacuum
TV belching out political scandal
What to say beyond it all?

Is this our life?
Help, somebody
Left to contemplate a past that now seems without sense
Dreams only of more economic failure
Remembering state apparatus and no heat, temps in the 20s
Black toes from frostbite
What felt like a stroke and no doubt was
Fallen to the floor in my own piss,
Unable to stand,
And even that was not the low point
Court appearance with no pants to wear
In essentially my underpants?
Maybe that back door knock late at night
We are here to help intimidate you
To leave with no money and no hope
Rejected even by the homeless shelter
Ten year waiting list for subsidized housing
God please kill us!

Dreaming: Crazy, hopeless jobs that are doomed to be temporary from the start
"$200 for production? That's too much."
"We've gotta move these boxes out!"
Impossible to live in those inhospitable dreams

Cold. Ice. Rejection.
State. Nothing human.
All in a passing panorama.
And can we still live?

I can't tell the difference anymore.

Desire is dream.
It leads to the good dream?
Or is desire an illusion,
for an illusion,
In an illusionary bubble of your own making?

The good feelings
Guide me.
But I do not understand what the night sky tells me
Because I was mistaken before.

Yet you pick yourself up anyway
Huge dead snake on the path to the mailbox
An omen
of what?
Maybe not.
Something wonderful ahead, really? Suppose.
But yes, the signs, watch the skies.
Wait for it.
It what?
No, never mind.
Was it only the ringing of my ears,
A little like the ocean
Hearing gone beyond to inner nerves.

Life cannot be one
If that one is yourself.
You need others
You cannot dream alone anymore

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Three New Volumes in the Children's Book Series by Ana Isabel Ordonez

Three new volumes are now available in Ana Isabel Ordonez's quirky and wise children's book series about the offbeat and hipster animals of the Musical Forest. They are: Volume 3, Aye Aye and Licec the Black Panther, Volume 4, Aye Aye, Professor Tekyp and the Hyperbrits and Volume 5, How Roibeard Helps Sorley the Cheetah.

The adventure continues where the first two volumes leave off (see my review of those volumes, The Extraordinary Love Story of Aye Aye and Fedor and How Aye Aye Met Roibeard the Giraffe, in my October 7, 2013 posting on these pages). The story starts with Volume One--the lemur Aye Aye falls in love with Fedor the lion and they subsequently manage to liberate all the inhabitants in the zoo where Fedor is kept captive. They end up in the Musical Forest, a savanna-like ecosphere where all the animals create a jazz-jamming nirvana of sorts.

Like all Ms. Ordonez's volumes these are a special sort of stories. They do not talk down to children but instead illuminate important human ethical values at the same time as they cultivate an appreciation of endangered species, the diversity and beauty of wildlife and the importance of human creativity, especially of the musical kind. There is with the wisdom a strain of playful nonsense and humor that pulls the stories together. Very importantly Ms. Ordonez both writes and illustrates each volume. The images have a rough-hewn singularity that adds much to the experience.

So the new adventures each center around a memorable character. Volume Three introduces Licec, the brilliant black panther who spews his wisdom virtually non-stop to Aye Aye. Her special banana recording device captures it all until, overwhelmed by his loquacious overabundance, she must slip away to contemplate all that he represents.

Volume Four gives us Professor Teykp, an endangered leopard and a most prodigious trumpet sensation in the savanna, who captivates all with his magnificent jazz band the Hyperbrits, that includes Pytt the wild piggy banjoman, and Anit, the beautiful butterfly trombonist with a strong set of communicative antennae. Teykp has a loyal pet cockroach named Euricoty. And Teykp has a yearly winter party trick where he assembles all, then rubs a solution of his stomach that coaxes the burning bees to assemble and singe all the hair off of him! Aye Aye meets Teykp and is in awe of the knowledge he imparts to her. The Hyperbrits treat the Musical Forest residence to a fabulous jam and, well, you have to read the whole thing. It's all great fun yet of course there is more to it as well.

Volume Five gives us Sorley the Cheetah, a complex, haunted musical titan who gazes at the night sky and dreams that his music will reach the stars and all who dwell there. But Sorley is troubled by insecurity and an egocentricity that Roibeard the giraffe helps him overcome with a good bit of wise advice.

No summary quite captures the sort of zany but smart fun that awaits children and parents in the recounting. It's the sort of story-telling that smart kids will no doubt take to readily. These volumes continue the fun and dada wisdom in Ms. Ordonez's very inimitable way. Grab these for your young ones and you'll be giving them something to expand their imagination--and appreciate the treasure of life on earth and how precious it all truly is!

These volumes are just out on Amazon in book form and in the digital Kindle format. Go there and do a search to get the full info.

Please note in the interest of full disclosure that Ms. Ordonez's Ruby Flower Org also puts out my music on their CD label. This is not a factor in my review--because I would not have written it if I did not find the books captivating!

I understand that the complete series is now available in Spanish and French versions, for those so inclined.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

When Once I Considered

When once Stantinopled I Considered Fair traveled to cities far Not to stop any, to start any, but just to have been, Long ways from home We've all seen troubles, strangers, What we don't fathom Dreaming of those never schlept with Schlepting with those undreamed of, Doubled your pleasure but only as Not a goner but a winter Drift would we in snowbank accounts filled with matter with anti-matter Consider options to up-chuck, re-chuck or no chucu kat all Ground round the clock gimme that Inside outside looking to get on the no-good footing Somewheres else like Here in a town Ozzie lived Yet no pancake batter endlessly pouring it ended Where you belong get back but ain't there that was t'other no yose and it shoulda been train to nowhere not tequila what changed the game the domino theory of fats fate was wrong after all now after all that toil and shuffleboil

nothin, plain ole with the works clockish

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

When Winter Becomes A Chore, Avoid Being A Bore

If I tell you that I am sick and tired of talking about the weather, I am not kidding. The season here has been brutal--snow, arctic temperatures, more snow, more arctic temperatures. We have no fuel oil left and so we keep our gas oven running 24/7. My car has been rendered undrivable by the freezing temps and ice. All I want to do is bitch, gripe and have a fit. But I am sick of that so I am putting a personal moratorium on all talk on the matter. What good does it do?

If someone runs into me on the street (unlikely) and says, "How about this weather?" I resolve to reply "I am forbidden by a personal protocol from talking about that subject!" With this kind of chill people keep off the streets most of the time, anyway, so I doubt I'll be running into anyone much. It's a sort of ghost town out there and it's been that way for months.

So do not ask, please. Soon it will be a new season and I will be happy to talk about it. Catch me then. Thanks!