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!

Monday, October 7, 2013

The Extraordinary Love Story of Aye Aye and Fedor; How Aye Aye Met Roibeard the Giraffe, by Ana Isabel Ordonez

I don't ordinarily review books online, but I continue to devour them voraciously. Children's books are somewhat rarefied ground for me these days, though growing up they were central to my existence. However Ana Isabel Ordonez was kind enough to send me the first two books in her children's series and I was so taken by their unusual nature that I decided, "why not write about them?" So I am doing that.

First off, I would think that these are ideal books for the intelligent kid who needs not to be talked down to, is intensely curious and loves a good yarn. That's what she/he will surely get with both The Extraordinary Love Story of Aye Aye and Fedor 46 pp, paper, Ruby Flower Publishing, and How Aye Aye Met Roibeard the Giraffe 41 pp., paper, Ruby Flower Publishing.

Ms. Ordonez has a doctorate in Animal Biology. That and her creative, insightful, artistic nature gives these two books a special tone. Ana wrote the stories and also did all the illustrations, which have a refreshingly naive, youthful quality that kids should identify with. I did, too.

It's all about Aye Aye, an endangered species of lemur, and her adventures. In volume one she meets and falls in love with Fedor, a rare white lion, when she wanders unwittingly into a zoo. She ultimately rescues the zoo inmates from their captivity after a powerful storm disturbs the equilibrium, knocking off roofs and scattering the human zookeepers. All the animals go to live in the Musical Forest, a hip place where you can get some jams going, be cool natural-habitat style, etc. (sounds good to me).

In the second volume Aye Aye gets to know Roibeard, a brilliant but maladjusted giraffe who has wings and can fly. Aye Aye is restless and uninspired but Roibeard is worse off--he cannot connect with people and has isolated himself, disgruntled with life. In the end Roibeard learns the virtue of giving and Aye Aye finds in turn fulfillment in helping Roibeard discover his way.

These are books with a didactic message--kids learn the value of freedom, of directedness, selfless concern for others, and love, and also begin to appreciate the collective value of each animal on this earth and the need to preserve their habitats. Ana has a warm way and a quirky humor kids will appreciate, as well as adults. The volumes are only the first two in a projected series. They are available in Spanish and French as well. Go to Amazon for info.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

In For A Treat?

When somebody says, "you are in for a treat!" you tend to perk up. Life sheds its grey filter and the full color of existence appears momentarily, anyway, as sheer potential.

We grow up with more-or-less periodic cycles where treats are given out and time is punctuated. It can differ depending on your culture and persuasion. In the world I occupied there was summer vacation, Halloween, Thanksgiving, the Happy Holidays for Christians and Jews, and, more regularly, the weekends, Friday night and Saturday morning being especially looked forward to.

Right now my main form of amusement is to devilishly go where I shouldn't, splitting infinitives and ending sentences with prepositions. I can do this here, though quite obviously it is not something for which I am paid, nor is it something I am paid for.

That is my treat right now. And those fully periodized treat times of childhood mostly have gone. As you get older you may find that your expectations of continuity, of a life that is "fun," where you break the cycle of what adults did--like they went to work no matter how bad the weather, worked most of the summer, (I wasn't going to live like that, no!)--it turns out to be stupid stuff that existed in your young fantasy future, and all that just didn't follow.

But there are compensations. What? Elvis? No, not Elvis. Anyway those compensations are something YOU have to create, mostly. Good luck with it.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

If On Some Occasion

If on some occasion you see me pass by

And you know me

Say hi.

We don't know how many more winter snows, summer rain


Holiday cheers,

Or traversing halls,

We might see again.

For we are finite creatures

With some end to forever sogg the crispness

of autumn leaf with others

Piled neatly or no,

And we aren't sure where we will go

When our passings by stop