Monday, December 10, 2018

Carl Bernstein

Winter withering --
I wonder if Carl Bernstein
knits his own ties?


each bird, one to the next,
motionless in flight

La Marseillaise July 2018

her perfect teeth
prominently on display
La Marseillaise

Sunday, December 9, 2018


photo: Michael Larkin; St. Paul

Nakashian O'Neill comes to mind ... Downtown St. Paul, prominently, at 5th and St. Peter, to be precise. Met a gent there, of slight build and an impeccable taste, with that truly apparent Designer's bent. Could this have been Mr. O'Neill of the refined and inquiring eye?

I'd arrived before Christmas in search of blown glass ornaments for the tree. A year or three along and we'd struck up a banter of sorts, after my initial appearance in muddy work togs, like most thereafter, at the end of a day laboring in some new tenant space high aloft some tall building or other that dotted the precipitous skyline.

Once, our conversation having jogged some memory, he went into the back and after a moment's rummaging returned promptly to produce some near forgotten treasures. Bavarian pieces, he'd purchased them on a trip to the Continent, as he graciously explained, with glass elaborations in floral design delicate as a first Confession.

i have them still, a set of three, and 300 or so other pieces from various origins, all fine glass, collected over a lifetime.

One Hell of a salesman, O'Neill ...

a merry jingle
From the street front door ...
fresh snow is falling

Sunday, November 25, 2018


on top of the gym
'highest she's ever been -
scooping in clouds

photo: brianna

Thursday, November 22, 2018

banya ; new paint :: yotsumono

early this morning
we took a roundabout way -
two cemeteries

if I miss one call
then another picks up

nobody says
the Pledge of Allegiance
any more

climate change . . .
so ban the banya, too?

banya: warm blanket; Russian


spring melancholy
a coat of new paint
will cover the old

each notice posted
was a different color

good jobs gone
half of Payne Avenue
put up for sale

sketches drawn in chalk
the rain washed away


facebook :: yotsumono

daytime moon
figures in crayon scrawled
on every door

2 am it rained; now
the dogs bark at any noise

ever since we left
that abandoned sofa
rests there on the curb

logged on facebook
in a language not my own


letter from Fukushima :: koyomi


a glance and a nod
then right out that door
deep spring snow

the moving guys squat
wrestling the quilt box

ebb tide
releases its grip
on our indiscretion

in a jerry built shack
beneath comma shaped clouds

timid steps
on icy slate, moonlight
through an iron grate

two wet cocktail rings
merge on top the bar


after we finish
belly laughs
wobble the bed springs

wings of geese beat
auguries into the wind

this new appliance
sends a text
when the colors are done

in haikai spirit
a letter from Fukushima

trumpet vine
and Gospel hymns rise
above the sea wall

a bright sting of salt
in the still morning air

February 2, 2011, edited

bandit / govindajohn

Monday, November 19, 2018

sheer ice

Lake Mallalieu
a sheet of sheer ice suddenly
makes everything still


"I knew someone who made them, Mrs. Lottie Trude, a retired lady who created folk art in what they the call "primitive" style - handiwork from that kind of red earth you find in Clay County, up and across the Missouri River delta, North of Kansas City but not quite as far as Liberty.

She lived on an old plot there, over run with blue jays and katy-dids and adorned by a few walnut trees, along with a small garden flanked by a shack built around the time of the Great War. A compact house sat up the grade by a gravel drive with an approach framed between two ancient Peonies, and inside a screened porch she used for storage is where her art was displayed.

"Her work included many iconic figures, from Aunt Jemima to Orphan Annie, the Empire State Building, and Teddy Roosevelt to recollections of the New Deal. It was an early 20th century history from a humorous, small town perspective, a private museum of Americana, alongside entire little families made out of clay - little people no more than 6 inches high, incredibly life like and so expressive of good common folks, you might say, with many elderly among them."

"If not for the meager means, then their countenances bore the time so well, carved features, wrinkled and intricate on the surface denoting age, if not wisdom, each dressed smartly and ready for the out of doors - shirts and skirts, pants, bibs and bodices - hats, too - all stitched by hand."

"Their delicate faces, carefully fashioned from tiny crab apples, grew features more life like as they dried, the hair, rescued from a mockingbird's nest, or plain, dry grass, home to the roly polys and chigger bugs, close by the Widow's nest, plaited in place and once as lively as the artist's high pitched voice was amused - but for her drawl, one which was as wide as the West Texas plains she hailed from - lending it a laconic mood, like wind easing on a rocking chair, musical and sanguine, pulled and worked from the cracks and fissures in the deep, sun baked clay."

"Go on?" An interlocutory tone from his imperturbable host, gracious, yet firm. This despite the surprise his unannounced visit had caused.

"Well, sir, I've been beatin' that riff for awhile. Thought of takin' up some periods, a hyphen or two, maybe, but it's a lot to carry for a fella that travels light, ready to fight or run, unless one makes a practice of speakin' out of turn ... I stand guilty, as accused ... "

"... actually, your honor, it was your lady friend's comment that drew me, the confident air, succinct yet bearing hope both at once, a combination I find unbearable to resist, yet, some offhand sanctity has ... caused me ... to avoid further comment."

He paused, and seeing no bidding to go further, carried on despite it.

"... although it's never restrained me from circlin' back in order to see the effect of my raids, in order to apprise or amend, of course. I am, first and foremost, a pamphleteer."

"What are rules for, if not made to be broken?"

Lake Mallalieu
a sheet of sheer ice suddenly
makes everything still

Sunday, October 28, 2018

winter fly

today's moon
finally reached its zenith -
winter fly

one stick

shiki, and red lights,
one stick of incense for you -
night of the rockets

Saturday, October 27, 2018


hurry now -
the wind on the water
makes it more clear


bad translations -
nearer now, I begin
to notice her smile

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

older now

Nuff fuckin around. this whole thing relates to an uncertain time. when ain't they been, and me a codger seen the good times. what are they then - you tell me.

Seven Eleven . Southland Corporation , mmm , Midland Texas. Fuck if I know. They had dental insurance like kings and senators in the '70s.

Ashland Oil bought em out (overhead costs cut) and now they're SuperAmerica. How fucking fitting.

SA store up on ... dunno , I'm looking East in my mind, uncertain, like I said, 3 blocks off (300 meters, f'in metrical) I seen the most beautiful pit bull I ever seen. How does an old geezer recog nog this?

Pattern perception. And this pup with the two slouches was adorned with the most gorjuss fawn markings, trad size old school and cut like a beast. ol' boy knows qual-a-tie

the two motherfuckers with him? They were motherfuckin trouble. 9 seconds i figgered this, less than a ogling accusation. It's the law.

... I decided to wait ...
three blocks, I can be in and out in blink of an eye en-circling the - entire - area.
uh uh.

I know where. over NE ,,, that black lady from mmm St. Louis. My home state ... she work there. her hair fallin out. too much process? I dunno ,,, My boy goes in. I follow. dog and shadow fade out.
I get my shit and woofie in a fight with my gal pal. he's runnin her down. mf 'er gotta hard on ... 15 other m'f'ers in the joint nobody says shit.
It's gettin embbarrassing man.

I complete my circle n' ease on up beside him and say in his ear, `,`,`,`, .
hE JuMPEd! I spoke to him politely, whatever it was... he does his thing I do mine, he's grumblin, yep me mate's there, she says thanks, I say "gorgeous smile" so she makes with the gorgeous smile and I check my boy's still there, he's waiting. Through the window, he's acting out a bi polar ballet. I smile at bae, I don't see shadow...
and with that we concluded our transaction and said good day.

son is ... a transplant from the Rust Belt or part's East, Detroit, Chicago by default, maybe local, odd, so close to the 'burbs, anything goes this town swings like a pendulum do, the northern most port on the Mississippi. It's enchanted. The City of Thieves.

Cat's all ebonics , little fella, big ego, bigger complex, this boys been hurt and he wears his chip like a medal of failure and despair. where he come from, you 'have', too. It takes stamina. white boy too. Minority.

W7th was like that, mex irish ital indian big swede, finlanders, krauts and cowboys drunk and disorderly a different breed "I'll knock you out!' a pastime like as much challenge. Blue collar lost their shirt, fuck you very much . I seen it.

this is different. its pandemic. i push the glass open, breathe out.

It's the usual shit. peewee herman real aggro, cutting, c'mon, let's fight, oh yeah, I'll set the dog on ya how'd ya like that?

where is shadow lurking? two bystanders leaving. slow traffic at xx am, light good, 4 cars, dog is looking at me, I yawn, pause, stretch , shake my head, the slightest breath, relaxed (dog lingo, I come in peace) then look at my boy. but I'm studying the dog.

Perfect. Structure. Bones. Proportion. Attention. Does he admire me?
65 lbs vs 165 with one trashed knee? Sure why not. I'll get lizard on yer ass, c'mon, 23 ft

... and a half step more to my driver's door. left, laterally, is the passenger door open? fuck it.
I looked at that sod with pity, or disgust. Both. he made his scene, no harm done. I never liked to bicker. I was the quiet one.

I turned my back on him and walked around to my car door and got in. Going through my rote motion to ignition, I glanced and studied the boy, still gaffin', like he was a lab experiment.
He seemed to be losing steam. good. he'll probably beat that loving soul some day and the dog won't know why. God what a beautiful creature.

Traffic was light. Ambling along i studied the side compartment and it's contents: mag lite, 3 cells, ute tool, sword (razor knife), retractable, napkins, butterfly bandaids, trash.

Double clutching that loyal little four banger, I pulled the ice pick from my sleeve and dropped it on the pile where it came to rest, amongst the clutter, almost disappearing from sight.

I thought I was old then,
but I'm much older now
autumn wind