Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Time Crunch

The trouble with writing is that it takes time
How much time can you spend that isn't money?

A ten-minute time frame contains this project
To make it feasible today

Doctor William Carlos Williams typed poems
"At full speed" between patients' exigencies

How much can I write under constraint?
Will compression explode in a flash of light?

How much that matters will get said in six hundred seconds?
Clearly more than in another day of neglecting the work

When Handel wrote The Messiah
He revived previous labors, operas that were then out of fashion
Music long silent

He pumped out the next big thing in a couple of weeks

Monday, August 5, 2013


The tile had to go
Fine, $15,000 later, gone!

Diane didn't know that she is a serious foodie until the kitchen revival
Now it smells like herbs of which I'd never heard

She tried to make a vegetarian of me
I nearly starved
So we compromised and did it my way
Until she seduced me with salads from the Elysian fields

And flowers from her garden
Gladiolas are blooming now
Those that collapsed in the rain adorn our table
A heavy glass vase supports the tall luxurious boughs

The sun also rises on our silestone counter tops
And stainless steel refrigerator and range

Jaybirds in the firs outside are stunned
In their blue reflections
Their mockery of the serenity within

The kitchen has tasted festivities
Gravel-like gluten-free bread

The silestone will survive us

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Begin Again

She wants to begin again
In the end there is a horizon, unknown in seasons of growth

If there is no harvest for all our sweat
Maybe the river isn't dry, but why try?

Too much angry ambition
Greed, aimless speed
Blind ambition!

In the failures
Or failures of nerve
We begin to see again

The light in the garden
And in her eyes

We begin again

7 Minute Autobiography with One Lie

Dry heat and subzero blizzards savaged the Montana railroad town
Mom didn't want to marry a farmer
Dad was a good candidate, he had a railroad job
His Italian family was not what the Norwegians on Mom's side expected, or hoped for
Everybody got used to the idea, some time after I was born

We were railroaded from Montana to Minnesota then to Oregon
In elementary school I heard of the Puritans but visited the Plains Indians and their graves
By junior high we were in Minnesota
The land of 1000 Lakes and the Hamm's Beer Bear
Southern Oregon
In high school I studied math, physics, and football

The Vietnam war got me into college
I was a straight-A student
You don't have to believe that

Still, my years at the University of Oregon were a renaissance
I couldn't get over the girl back home, so I studied Shakespeare
We'd been to a festival in Ashland, Shakespeare under the stars
The bard wasn't the same without her, but I persisted
History, philosophy

I had learned to sing in church
A choir at the university opened my ears to Bach, Handel, and Mozart
I breathed deeper and rejoiced
Every day since, I've opened my mouth to sing
The war ended before I got a degree

But music followed me even working in Portland
A few years as a salesman, and I went to Seattle to sing opera
I drove a truck and moved furniture
Got married and divorced
Sold the business to save the house

Then my career as a singer really took off
Three years in the chorus
Tannhauser, Der Ring des Niebelungen
La Forza del Destino, The Marriage of Figaro
I was born to sing
In the shower

Operatic romance was better offstage
We hiked in the North Cascades
Buried my sister

I negotiated peace between music and business
And have lived happier ever after

I married another singer