Monday, February 07, 2011

Between Milestones

—Photo by Art Beck, San Francisco


those arrogant pricks. Believe me,
given enough time, things happen.
It’s a law of nature that a fool
in power will make a public
fool of himself. A thief
will always steal that once
too often. The miser who
makes sure that you stay poor,
inevitably, can’t keep from bragging
to that certain someone who’ll rob him blind.

The tyrant on the make only you
seem to recognize—the one
who hates you just because
it’s his nature—will soon enough
begin to lose his temper
with people in high places.
That calculating hypocrite who denounces

your honest dirty language
will get caught in the wrong bedroom
with his pants around his knees. And life—
you can count on it—somehow comes running back,
frantic to make it up to you, to console
you because you were a child enough to believe
she’s the kind who could always be faithful.

—Art Beck


Thanks to Art Beck (Dennis Dybeck), Carl Schwartz, and Robin Gale Odam for some poems and pix today that are oddly appropriate to a person's birthday. And thanks for all the birthday wishes on Facebook and otherwise! I was truly amazed to see that Santa Cruz hadn't changed a bit in the five years I've been gone—or, for that matter, in the 60 years I've been going there. Watched the sun come up over the ocean in the morning on my 65th, sand between my toes, cotton candy on the Boardwalk, then came home to an inbox full of good wishes. What more could an aging gorgon ask for...?


—Art Beck

When I was young, they were everywhere:
The doctor who persuaded my parents he
had to snip my tonsils. The ether
I gagged on, the sickening dream.

The nuns who welcomed me to the alphabet
and pencil with a slap, who taught me
to count the hours and excruciating minutes
circling the clock until the bell rang at three.

In my twenties and thirties my bosses were
villains. my co-workers liars. I made friends
only to find they were as helpless as I was.

I dreamt of belonging, but where?
All that’s over. No one’s against me now. Just
myself, always on guard against myself.


—Carl Bernard Schwartz, Sacramento

After a hopeless struggle to
find no cal in Nor Cal, I have
resorted to natural, holistic
alternatives and start each
morning with a wholesome
bowl of Proto-Sino-Tibetan,
topped with a pinch of
Punjabi. Unsaturated,
untranslated, ununderstood.

Since I was born one week
later than the day the Chinese
traditionally add a year to their
age I am of somewhat kindred
spirit, but fated to miss the
point, the punchline, the boat,
you name it.

We one-week-laters are the kind
who routinely put the button in
the wrong buttonhole, hit the
backspace key more than any
other, and maintain a pretty high
handicap in golf and bowling.

So what’s for dessert?


Today's LittleNip: 


we shift burdens, journeys overlapping

what we seem to remember blurs with
rain, with tears, with glint of sunlight at
water’s edge

—Robin Gale Odam



—Photo by Art Beck