There’s no David on my block

My neighbor mows his lawn in the nude;
It’s not an attractive nude
like a Brancusi sculpture,
no Modigliani here
or even one of Rodin’s lesser-known works;
It’s more on par with those chain-saw pieces
you see along the road in Maine or Arkansas.

In spite of the assault on the senses
this event entails,
I marvel at his courage,
given the velocity at which
a rock or piece of hidden limb
can bounce off the stone wall
he skirts (if only) next to his house.

When I was growing up
Summers were spent shirtless, shoeless;
Despite the frequent reddened skin,
the stubs and cuts and bites,
the feel of mud oozing between toes
And fresh-cut grass
was worth the pain, soon forgotten.

Perhaps that’s it:
He’s trying to regain that long-ago
freedom and lack of care;
But I’d prefer to see him in more
than SPF-52.

Nothing left

There is nothing left to write about

All the ideas have been used
All the scenes described
All the details told

Aeschylus, Shakespeare, Melville, Chekov
Hemingway, Roth, Updike
James B. Patterson
What’s left that they haven’t said
(to say nothing of Austin, Dickinson, Cather, Atwood, Kingsolver
who finished what the other started)

A writer — novelist, poet, historian, blogger — must have a theme
There are no new themes:

boy meets girl
boy falls in love with girl
girl’s family dislikes boy’s family
boy kills himself in despair
girl kills herself in despair over boy
boy’s father wins the Lottery and does a leveraged buy-out of girl’s family’s business

What more is there to say

Cave walls, stone tablets, papyrus
turtle shells, leather hides, paper
computer screens, skin
burned sticks, chisels, quill pens
pencils, mechanical pencils
fountain pens, ballpoint pens
roller balls
typewriters, word processors
a finger on an iPad
hieroglyphics, cuneiform, pictographs
alphabets, graffiti
All the writing has been done everywhere
All the instruments have been employed
All the forms used

What is left to write about


The more you know

Prometheus couldn’t rebound
and was cut from the team
even though he went 15 for 22
in his last game

St. George won the Drag Nationals
in 1967 but blew a tire in his next race
and sat out the entire season
with prickly heat

Willa Cather never spent a day in Phoenix
as far as we know, but her pictographs
are the major attraction in

Jeremy Irons owned a hand laundry
on Carnaby Street in London
but sold it to enroll in
the Actors Studio

The chemical formula for table salt
contains a secret code the Masons use
to indicate how they want their
steaks cooked

The Aegean Sea
was once filled with chocolate pudding

Lasagna makes me sneeze

Lady Gaga will play Ilsa
in the remake of Casablanca
the part of Rick
hasn’t been cast

Bulletin — 4/365

I’ve always been fascinated by bulletin boards.  They are a window into the minds of those who create them.  “Create” may, perhaps, indicate an intentionality that is not necessarily intended, but creativity is, I believe, mainly a subconscious event that is manifested in a tangible way at some point.  The bulletin boards I like most are those that are communally created in public places, like laundromats and grocery stores.  They have a natural beauty and structure that most artists would be hard-pressed to recreate from scratch.

My photo for today is a portion of my own bulletin board (more pronouncements than announcements) and as an added bonus, I’ve included a photo I took some time ago of a coffee shop bulletin board.

Tired of clean up after the kids?  Need someone to take your kids away for the day?  Looking for a new house?  Looking for a roommate or a lawnmower?  Whatever you need is right here, just a phone call away.


Miracle on 18th Art Show

Hello Art, a local arts organization, is hosting its first member’s show at the Kansas City Arts Incubator.  It’s being called a “creative shopping experience” because all the art in the show will be for sale at reasonable prices; most pieces will be priced under $100.  The show and shopping opportunity will be this Friday, December 3 from 5:30 to 8:30 at the Arts Incubator, 18th and Baltimore.  If you are looking for a unique gift for that special someone, come down to the show.  It’s also First Friday in the Crossroads, so there will be lots of activity, with galleries open late.

Here are a few of the pieces I will be showing Friday.

I shot this magnolia bud a couple of years ago in color, but the structure lends itself to a high resolution black and white treatment.

A daisy shot in very low light and rendered in black and white.

This railroad bridge near Liberty has interesting lines and provides a variety of textures.

A couple of years ago, Suzanne had a conference in Atlanta, and I took this shot inside the hotel we were staying in.  I liked the contrast of light and dark… and the cleaning cart in the hall.

Art Unleashed is just around the corner

Art Unleashed, the annual fundraiser for the Greater Kansas City Humane Society will be Friday, August 27th at Hale Arena (in the American Royal Complex).  Here’s the website for more information:

I’ve had the opportunity to donate art to this event for the last five years and it’s been fun trying to come up with a creative pieces every year.  I started borrowing iconic images and adding photos of my dogs, since even paintings of the masters can be improved with animals.  Here is this year’s piece:

I’m pretty sure that Sargent intended to put a dog in the picture, but probably just forgot or ran out of time.  He was notoriously late.

An art critic in the neighborhood

When Suzanne got up this morning, she discovered that “Ladders” had been vandalized.  During the night, someone had knocked it over, though I have to admit, it looks like they did so very carefully.  None of the top limbs were broken and there doesn’t seem to be any damage anywhere else.  Still, it’s disappointing that this would happen.  But, given what has happened in the four years we’ve lived here, not all that surprising.

This is not the first incident we’ve experienced.  During the 2008 election, we had three Obama signs stolen from our yard and just this past March, we had a “War is not the answer” sign that we’ve had since the first days of the Afghanistan War back in 2001 taken.  I’d like to think that these are all pranks by neighbor kids, but they are irritating, nonetheless.

I reported the latest incident to the police just so they will keep an eye on things.  For now, I’m going to leave my sculpture in its “prone” position and treat it as a crime scene.  One of the things I learned last year was that these pieces evolve in the time that they are on exhibit, whether by my hand or by the hand of nature.  Now, I see that they can also evolve by the hand of others.

Are you where you are right now?

Quantum mechanics, in coveralls smelling of grease,
say it is possible to be in two places at once.

They would know; no one ever answers the phone
when I call about my car.  Later: “Hey, man, I’ve been here
all day.”  Of course, the questions is:  where is here?

The secret to being in two places at once
is being poorly coupled to the environment,
which Roy certainly is.  How many times have I heard him say
“Man, I just don’t feel coupled today.”

Each of us must choose where he wants to be;
that’s the key.  Two places at once?  No problem, but choose wisely
so you are there to answer the phone when I call.

The bicycle club

they flash by like
many-colored fish
creating the currents
they seek

leaves rustle
as the gam*
finds its pace

we stand and marvel
at the force
but know
it’s not for us
they ride

*Gam has a variety of meanings, including “a leg” which certainly has relevance here;  as part of the marine metaphor, it can mean a school of whales, dolphins or porpoises; and, gam can refer to a social meeting, which is part of the experience of cycling in a group.

We’re on after the cheese

Andy told us confidently
we’d all have our fifteen minutes of fame
but that was 1968
when the population of the world
was only 3.556 billion
it’s 6.793 today
so each of us only gets 7 minutes and 51 seconds now
to make our mark on “American Idol”
or “So You Think You Can Dance”
or “The Biggest Loser”
and when we do
it’s Oprah and Tyra and Ellen
if we are lucky
Chad will sell us a house in Malibu
next to someone who has already had
their 7 minutes and 58 seconds
because the world population was only 6.789 billion
a week ago