Saturday, April 12, 2008

Tartan Day Ball, 2008 (photo)

Tartan Day Ball, 2008. We're partying like rock stars. Got me green bottle in front of me. Ironic, I view the world (and read) through my left eye, and take photos with my right eye (it's a lazy bugger)—and in photos of me, my left eye is always the squinty one. And, no I didn't need glasses then! I did have a "lazy" eye as a kid, but didn't wear a patch. I think it has something to do with how our brains process information. I'm right handed, but left-eyed. Dyslexic trait? I'm also left footed. And I can switch-hit at baseball. Right eye processed by left brain; left eye processed by right brain. All I know is that in this photo, I'm squint-eyed happy. Floyd Busby photo. 

Friday, April 11, 2008

Freewrite, 4 poems, writing from photographs, Diane Arbus portraits, Tobey Kaplan

From a photo by Diane Arbus

On the low rise of the hill,
children sit waiting for the camera.
A moment of time frozen on silver bromide
and gelatin, or perhaps glass.
It’s not of this century,
the photographer adjusts the lens,
the tripod uneven, poses the sky and the hill,
trees lose their footing, the children watch,
waiting patiently in the spring grass, barefoot,
wearing silly summer hats.
One girl smiles, already willing to please.
A lone boy scowls, but he is intrigued,
the other tilts his head with hands on knees
drawn up, the other girl turns her body away,
and chews her fingernails, waits.
Four moods caught on film,
their bodies have long since left the frame.
They are now adults
with lives of their own in the city.
Beyond the frame, the hill stretches
its famous green expanse, the humid air,
heavy with the weight of cigarettes,
the shadows creeping in.

From a photo by Diane Arbus

In a white room not his own,
a man in an overcoat lounges on the twin bed.
It could be a hotel room
but the bedspread I recognize,
fitted velour, stripes faded with age.

Maybe he’s in his mothers house,
having stepped in for his monthly visit,
baked afternoon dust irritates his nose.

An expensive lithograph is on the wall,
it could be Matisse or even a Chagall.
A sophistication of line. A lamp on the bed table
is like a drum of light echoing.
Everything is symmetrical.
Perhaps she was concerned with order.

Let’s say he followed in his father’s footsteps.
The path led away from the house,
towards the freedom of an open bottle
shared amongst cronies at the end of the block.
The traveling salesman, the caged room,
the open road.

From a photo by Diane Arbus

In a room painted white,
through a gauze curtain
that falls like water to the floor
and filters the light,
the window shades corralled the light
into intense squares.

A woman sits in an easy chair.
It holds her like a child,
she is reading, her legs crossed,
ankles slender as a deer.
She hunches forward, her glasses,
the lamp, the window capture light
from another time.

The other chair is empty.
The cushion, lopsided, as if the man
who had sat there only crossed his legs
to one side, to the left.

The rug is freshly vacuumed
you can see the dry trails in the carpet
leading back towards the walls at oblique angles.
The lamp, once a pitcher from another era
 is barely visible, the legs of the escritora,
the edges of a book,
the poem in another room.

From a photo by Diane Arbus

At the dance studio
the couple poses for the camera
She back steps, and arabesque
of unattainableness. He leans toward her.
His pants are too short
he’s in a growing spurt.

The two trophies lined up
on the dance floor at oblique angles
create a triangle of what is wanted,
what is hidden, and what will come.

The pale birch floor, a vast expanse,
leads to a bank of chairs,
empty of thought
or of wallflowers.

Montara Middle School

Bucket list Freewrite, Tobey Kaplan, Montara Middle School

Bucket list Freewrite

I want to see the northern islands
I want to go to the Isle of Man,
the Outer Hebrides, the Aran Islands.
I want to see the graveyard of kings
on the Isle of Iona, and the Holy Isle ofArran.

I want to see Thailand before I die,
the place where the tsunami scoured
fragile atoles, the resurgence of palm trees,
leaves clattering in the wind
I want to bask in the sun of down under,
snorkel the great barrier reef,
see the gardens of fish bloom
in technicolor splendor,
sit beneath the Boojum tree
and admire its strong adaptation
to desert sun and drought.

I want to live in a house in the country.
I might get a cat, maybe some chickens.
A house if I don’t have to take care of it daily.
I’ve already done that. I’d grow a garden,
watch the tomatoes ripen.
I’d eat raspberries right from the vine
I’d beat the birds at their own game
for breakfast.

But I woke up an hour too early today
and I thought I was late for class
so I listened to ancient music,
Uillean pipes in the morning mist.
It took me off. The clock stood still.
Time slipped away.
I was trapped between worlds,
transported to the otherworld
where time stands still
and life is always in the moment.

Montera Middle School

Tuesday, April 1, 2008


I sent
A sunny day, impeccable blue
Clouds roiling like lost sheep, Greenfields
Outback of the bleachers, we threw foam pies under blue skies
We were busy naming the earth our mother under blue skies
God knows where Kelly was in thehay HAI GHC ?
The hate was the siren call under blue skies
And good old Joewas beginning his days in some bar in the city, no blue sky space
One monthto the summer of love for sense eternal under those lost blue skies.

March April, 2008  could be May 2009
with Tobey Kaplan at Montara School
I rewrote this several times, no idea which came first.

It was late summer in New York City
These voices cracked against the strain of washer
The unmentionable motion of the earth spinning and measured light
The cold cutting into what we have heard what we have found
A room of words wearing lace and sunglasses
The feeble instruments of this body.

First draft late spring in New York City Friday afternoons we played kickball against the back wall of the school these voices is cracked against the strain of water ups and sky the whisper and the measured light the crescent moon a pale candle

A string of light the feeble instrument of this body the measured light the room of words wearing lace and sunglasses the feeble instrument of this body a room of words a string of light, words measured water light measured light a strain of words a room of words wearing lace and sunglasses the feeble instruments of this body

The strain of water what you intend the earth spinning what we have heard the cold cutting into the wind

We played kickball against the back wall generations Friday afternoons after school like spring in New York City
Their voice is cracked against the strain the water and sky
And measured light, crescent moon, a pale candle
The unmentioned motion of the earth spinning the
The cold cutting into what we have heard what we intend a split on the entity in a roomful of words wearing lace and sunglasses the feeble instrument of this body I dance of light upon the waves