Archive for the ‘dollars and cents’ Category


Thursday, April 11th, 2013

I’ve spent so much time, my whole life it seems, proving that I can do everything/anything myself, that I no longer know what I do best.

I have/am wasted/wasting my time doing everything myself that I should be having others who do it better do for me that I am no longer excelling at anything.

I truly have become a jack of all trades and master of none while I have been deluding myself that I am really a master of all and jack of none — guess I don’t know jack, even though he was my father.

But wait — my dad was named Jack but rarely did he attempt to do everything himself though he could be quite handy and often tried. He was perhaps trying to emulate his adopted father John whom was truly handy in so many ways.

Yet he too didn’t try to do Everything. Could it be a trait I picked up from my father’s biological father whom I never met or knew — or something I mistakenly took as a directive when hearing that phrase —

jack of all trades and master of none?

So here I am at seventy, trying to do everything and ending up feeling wasted and wan.

I’ve tried to be Jack and I’m only John.

rotting to perfection

Friday, September 17th, 2010

I used to feel like I was part of a mass movement for good
like a particle in a sea of positive elements all moving
in the same direction generally, each contributing
even though we are all very differently endowed.

Now I feel more like I am a piece of discarded refuse
in spite of my continuing contributions and activities;
a piece of rotting food on a pile of more rotting food
used only to fuel the vagaries of a few vultures and rats
who quarrel over the few remaining bits we comprise.

Politicians, bankers, generals, preachers and pirates
feeding their insatiable egos on the rotting remains of civility
and reasonable order, enjoying especially the mindless
scent of their misguided followers’ rantings and alms,
pushing them further into the greedy nirvana they crave.

How far will we have to rot here before we become choking
in our putrescence — how vile must we get to have an effect
that reflects the nature of our situation until it rightly gags
the devouring giants and hungrily-nibbling rats
toppling them into an abyss from which they again feed our growth.

Its probably just another example of the balance of everything
over time, repeating its rhythmic dance and my anxiety is nothing
but my part to be played in this tableau so here I am,
promoting being to the extreme, being to our limits and just a little
beyond since that is the essence of life — pushing and pulling.

Whoever you are, now is the time to act out, to hold no reins
and be a part of the life that surrounds us in this beautiful chaos.
Burn brightly from every orifice and do your part what ever it is:
devouring and becoming fatter yet or rotting and becoming putrid
enough to do the choking of those greedy bastards. Get up and dance!

the scent of cents

Sunday, December 20th, 2009

What I really love about being an artist, a painter,
is the creating of things that no one has ever seen.

Creating environments in whose two-dimensional space
I loose myself in a world that is totally fresh and new —

colors and shapes that are filled with energy and movement
that propel my soul off its feet and into a weightless flight

through what becomes a multidimensional scape where
physical, spiritual, intellectual and emotional intertwine

to make me one with the dance of light and fire,
of sound and wind, of muscle and blood that is the ringing

of a bell, the refracting of a ray, the heat of a thrill,
the breath of life and the mystery of death revealed all at once.

Its the complexity of the simple and the simplicity of the complex,
the amazement in the mundane and the peace of chaos

that brings me back in spite of my more practical nature
to explore the idiocy of intent and the sanctity of the perverse.

Roll on silver diamond, bring me back the painted face
and out of the mustached harlot a return to the source.

Grind on as I move about you like a humming bird in hunger
doing everything that makes sense more than the scent of cents.

what was it

Monday, July 20th, 2009

what rakish and daring exploit was I going to write about?
it seems to have totally slipped out of my mind this morning
as I settle in to my studio moving the four bicycles I have there
to accommodate my sitting to attack the keyboard which records
my inner wanderings and thoughts into its virtual library.

I try to fight off the distractions of others’ noises in pursuit
of their own agendas and mysteries on this fine and sunny
summer Monday morning just past the hour of nine.

This is the time I’ve determined is the best if one has to
travel about on errands — Most who start at nine are there
and those that started earlier are taking their first break
so the roads are quieter now after the rush while everyone
seems to have gotten out of my way just for me and a few
others who also have this figured out — aah, ain’t life great.

But I’ve still not recalled the event I wanted to chronicle
perhaps a diversion into something else is in order
it was something I know so well and can recall every detail
but at the moment its gone just beneath that surface film
that can more than cloud these memories in some shadows
cast by what I don’t know.


So after a diversion I still can’t recall so will be on my way
to return later when that thought returns for real. so long for now.


It was around 1967 when I shared a painting studio
in the abandoned Collins building downtown
in Seattle’s skid road

I built a small car out of cardboard boxes
to look like a child’s drawing of a car — boxy

it was covered with large pieces of newsprint
I’d gotten from my uncle who worked at the Times

and painted bright pink with black lines
and in the driver’s side window

was pasted a print of Ruben’s Child
and of course there were wheels and bumpers and lights

I took it down onto the street below
and set it into a parking space and paid the meter

We watched from our fourth floor window
as cars stopped to park then seeing it — drove on

This must be street theater we thought
so ventured out into other neighborhoods

In the U-District we again parked the bright little boxy car
and sat in a restaurant across the street to watch

It was beautiful to observe this child-styled artwork
in its contrast with the mundane surroundings

and to witness others’ amusement and wonder
at what and why this anomaly was

In a moment when our attention was diverted
by our conversation or coffee

we suddenly noticed the car had been removed
and was headed up the street in a meter maid’s cart

By the time we got out onto the street it was nowhere in sight
so, dejected we walked back to our car just up the block

As we passed by a small City storefront office we stopped
because there just inside on the floor

was our little pink child-styled car offering yet another contrast
that caused us to laugh and thrill at this circumstance

We entered immediately and inquired as to what it was doing there
since we had indeed paid our fare at the meter

and exclaimed that just because our car was so different
was no reason it should be impounded without notice

I wish this tale had a more exciting ending
like a day in court or perhaps some media coverage but alas

We were sent on our way without prosecution
since after all it was only art — hummph.

And this is the kind of thing that made Andy Warhol
and others famous while we trudge on in obscurity

Having fun and creating anomalies whenever and wherever
we can leaving no footprints and packing out our wastes.

90 pound weakling

Thursday, July 16th, 2009

When I was a kid
no one ever chose me for baseball
or football or basketball

I was lousy at sports
and hated having my shortcomings
displayed and derided regularly

I was the skinny weakling
who was embarrassed
to remove my shirt at the beach

I didn’t learn to swim
and even put off learning
to ride a bike until I was eleven

In high school I watched with envy
as the jocks got all the cool girls
and I hardly had a clue why

I had plans and dreams
that were vague and never came to be
but I was happy in their pursuit

In later years those jocks
got fat and inconsiderate
leaving me to shine with their wives

who found me warm and listening
thoughtful and fulfilling while
I enjoyed the spoils of my folly

all the while ignoring
my own blindness and weakness
that lead to so much pain

I’m still the skinny weakling
and I still don’t care for sports
while the fire of passion burns on

Maybe someday I’ll figure it out
but for now I can just live
moment to moment in wonder.

Guess nothing has really changed.


Tuesday, June 16th, 2009

I’ve never really liked working
and have avoided it as much as possible
some say I’m lazy or a slacker
while others may merely ignore my reticence

or fire me or lay me off to draw my dole
where I enjoy my own pursuits in my own time
and feel far more fulfilled than at a job
where its never good enough or entirely wrong

working in exchange for food and rent
or the wherewithal to provide without meeting
the longings inside to be a real contributor
to something of real value to the world outside

It took me nearly fifty years to figure out
that indeed it is work I dislike not the people
within whom I struggle nor the places where
the dreaded acts of that work are performed

I love to labor at anything that directly provides
a valued service to the world that fits
with my values inside and find that when done
can provide the food and rent for years to come


Tuesday, May 5th, 2009

now that I’m free from the confines
of job and position, schedule and plan
where will my course take me

as I drop my tools and brushes
to take up the pen and embrace
the ephemeral world of words

wood and stone build houses
paint and canvas become works of art
while words float all about us

calling us by our names
and announcing lunch while waiting
to be lines of poetry or prose

they are certainly easier to carry
and don’t require a truck or cart
but only a twist and occasional turn

artists drive trucks and novelists cars
while poets walk and essayists talk
their courses all defined in words

if time does any telling it will be in words
laid atop other words which rest on a base
of words and letters and spaces and

sunday surf

Sunday, April 19th, 2009

A warm Sunday afternoon surf
reveals on craigslist under Free
a backpack kit and books
beehives with free bees and
a free lot of scrap metal

accompanied by free rock and dirt
garage-sale leftovers and best
of all a free horse just above
yesterday’s jacuzzi/spas and
moving boxes or kittens.

The free horse is a 12 year old
paint mare used as
a brood-mare not rideable
she must have carried some heavy
broodings and no picture

and under the general we find
elbow and shin guards
a back brace neckties and
a chest freezer with
diapers adult large

red bull minifridge ceiling fan
wheelchair mountain bikes and
large salt water fish tank with
cash register and silver dollars
cash only and no emails

surfing those blue waves of type
now have flotsam of purple hits
bobbing like kelp bulbs over
the gray pane of the global
flea-market. Next… ?

in defense of platitudes

Friday, April 17th, 2009

We’ve all heard them and been told how dull and boring their repetition
can be in creative writing and regular conversation.

Trite and hackneyed are their descriptors and the fact that many are truisms
is lost on our sophisticated minds.

Their conflicting beacons are seen in “He who hesitates is lost”
countered by ” Haste makes waste.”

But are these words and phrases so often repeated not really sound advice
past along for centuries in verbal/tribal exchanges?

“A stitch in time saves nine” is one worth heeding and endures
all these centuries for more than its subtle rhyming.

The squeaky wheel always does get the grease and the early bird
its worm but its been proven that a watched pot can boil.

So, next time you see or hear one look deeper for the origin of its intent
and you may find “a word to the wise is sufficient.”

economic contractions

Wednesday, February 25th, 2009

Up early, starting to write.

The radio comes on as the smate arises.

A phrase catches my ear.

“The economy is in severe contraction”

Are not contractions something

that precede birth?

How close are the contractions?

That’s the key to divining

when delivery is due.

What is our economy going

to give birth to?

Chaos, growth, stillbirth?

And, whatever it ends up being

will it have defects or special gifts

that affect its acceptance and success?

Perhaps if we know more about the father

who has brought our economy to this point.

So — who inseminated our economy?

What did the father’s genes contribute?

More greed and chicanery?

Will the father even claim paternity?