Friday, April 30, 2010

Kill The Sidebar

One of the recent changes I made at Judy Garland's Blues (poetry blog) that I really like was to get rid of the sidiebar by changing the template to the "Simple II" that's been around a long time, but seldom turns up on blogs because sidebars are so popular. I decided they were unneeded claptrap in a dedicated poetry blog. Besides, the sidebar items can still be found if you make it to the bottom of the blog. Just a small alteration, but I like it.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Where Is That Painted Lady?

Here's a link to a poem written in my old age about the "first love" of my youth. As I've done previously with other poems that were either long or of very special quality (this one is a little of both), it's located at my poetry blog, "JUDY GARLAND'S BLUES".

See this poem about love and loss and art and beauty and remembrance, if you wish, at PAINTED LADY.

I Weep For Poems And People

(For My Aunts Pearl and Louise Who Died The Same Day This Week)

I weep for poems that went astray
And people who seem long-gone as dust
That some ill wind blew away eons ago,
But they only now have died.

I weep as if for a stranger on a sinking ship or for
That fraught overwrought final bearer at the eternal pall—
We’re dead-fast running out of time
And good simple souls and tissues for our tears.


Current draft: 4/28/2010
Created on 4/26/2010 3:51 PM

Sunday, April 25, 2010

It Injures Me

It injures me when you think ill of me,
Though I guess in truth I injure myself
When I know you are forced to such disgust
And disappointment and forgiveness
By all my vulgar snarling and despair.


Current draft: 4/25/2010
Created on 4/22/2010 10:39 AM

Saturday, April 24, 2010

God Will Get You Either Way

I've decided God is indifferent to some of us and hates the rest. Which group I fall in, I can only guess.

Friday, April 23, 2010

A Thousand Dollars

If you sent me a thousand dollars
With which to make the trip from here to you,
That would be enough,
More than enough,

But not enough to overcome my constipated brain
And aches and pains—I would have the road maps and the means,
But not the spirit or the strength to actually get up and go.
You might think I might as well be dead.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Dead Or Alive?

What's the deal, did I die?

I don't think so.

Okay, then, don't clam up!

Monday, April 19, 2010


Our lives are full, too full--
But full of what? TV and dis-ease,
Distant neighbors just there across the street
Or on the left beyond the fence—
All I know of them is the constancy of their yapping dog,
And all they know of me is that I haven’t killed that dog.

It's all true, it's all false,
It's all a great grief and all a great relief.
It's nothing we didn't mean
And nothing that meant very much,
We still are not subject to sense, but only to sensations
We submit to alive
Though each maintains that all is hubris,
And is all we may ever achieve.


Current draft: 4/19/2010
Created on 12/25/2009 7:01 PM

Sunday, April 18, 2010

To Suspire

I talk so much of dead things
(I talk too much),
I slog through lifetimes mired in it,
So it seems like suicide would be close or in the air
Or else I’d have no explanation for all this crap
I opine and emote, always repining for something else—
Who the hell knows what?—in ugly notes like this.
I’m not in line for the good stuff,
Not waiting calmly for the best,
Not even self-deceived that it could come to me
As a result of work on any given day or in this way.
I’m just making clamor to suspire, I’m just drawing fire.


Current draft: 4/18/2010
Created on 4/8/2010 3:52 PM

Saturday, April 17, 2010


I hesitate to write to you
Since you told me
That everything was crazy there
Without disclosing any detail,
Though I hope it’s nothing or only too much work.

I hope it isn’t disease or despair
Or divorce or death, but even so
Something more desolate or devastating
May exist than I have been inclined to imagine.
I lift a glass and say a prayer to being wrong about it all.


Current draft: 4/17/2010
Created on 4/10/2010 6:57 PM

Friday, April 16, 2010

What To Do

I'm running out of shit to say. What'll I do about that? Improvise. Get buggy. Don't attract attention to it. Too late.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Turbotax Is A Turd

I used Turbotax last year and didn't recall it being Hell on earth, but apparently I am very forgetful or they made "improvements" since that time that made everything as clear as mud, not to mention inserting as many extra screens and pages as they possibly could. As far as I'm concerned, they made my EZ form headbustingly difficult. I hope they all die in grievous misery, then wake up the next day and realize it was a dream and they have to go through it all over again!

In fact Turbotax is a double turd. They informed me this morning that my form was rejected because of some wrong data that I could re-enter and correct the mistake. It was only that I'd changed a 6 to a 9 in a long ID # and that was easy enough to correct, but then it took 40 or 60 clicks more to get to the end of the program where they send the form to IRS again! God, I'd like to kick the shit out of somebody wearing a suit and tie down there!!! I only do my taxes by computer because I'm lazy, but they're putting me through more hoops than if I just filled out the paper form, goddamn it!

Judy Garland’s Blues

Why was Judy Garland sad?
Did she have everything—but not love?
What drove Judy Garland mad,
Or do I give her too much credit?

Was she just privately unlucky, after all the public luck?
Did she have two armfuls of nothing in the worn valises
She dragged into another mansion of expenses, pills, and airs
Amid lost things never declared, forever beyond her reach?

Did she have everything—but not love?
Was she too often left behind as a child
Or was she poisoned in the vein
As by too many drinks or a rattlesnake...

Twisted by some familial demon spirit she became
That Voodoo spirit, the reel and spin, the deadly living blues,
Forever frightened—no matter her age or image or magic—
Of what to choose and what to lose, out of control to the end?

Did she, like you, like me, have everything—
But could not feel the love that others gave
Or stay as brave as needed every moment?


Current draft: 4/12/2010
3rd draft: 04/26/05
Created on 5/4/2004 11:21 PM

Monday, April 12, 2010

Writing Poems

A lady came up and asked me,
“How do you decide on topics for a poem?”
They don’t spring full-grown, I replied.
The topics seem to choose themselves in the end.
A few words or sentences will occur to me
And after that it either grows organically or
Is built upon like a skyscraper where the architect
Comes in almost every day and changes the plans again.


Current draft: 4/11/2010
Created on 4/11/2010 3:26 PM

Sunday, April 11, 2010

All The Lonely People

(Strange Tales #3)

I woke up wondering in those days if Eleanor Rigby
Was an avatar of that quiet lady down the street.
She seemed so precise and poised, though plain,
Something in the way she moved was sweet to see
Each morning, but we never spoke or met.
I’d meant to attend her service yesterday
Because the gossips said there was no one going,
But I had to work—it was just another day in my life.

My neighbor’s daughter Loretta on the left is seldom home
And seems to play her devil music for no one when she is.
Sometimes she strums her guitar and gently weeps
Out on the veranda and doesn’t think that I can hear her.
Other times she plays old Sixties records real loud;
She lets them endlessly repeat and looks left and right
And sighs as if waiting for someone to perform with...


Current draft: 3/26/2010
Created on 3/26/2010 10:16 AM

There are 5 Beatles references in each stanza above; almost no one will have trouble finding them. I just found it entertaining to do, despite the damage to the originality of the poem.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Entertaining Notions

Your newly “created” group of friends sounds worthwhile,
Almost indeed sounds daring in a world
That just gets by on who it already knows
Or can meet online without any germs or fingerprints.

I recall the beer and alcohol parties
In my youth that, if they didn't go so well for me,
Went that way because my expectations or hopes
Were too great or off center and didn’t fare well with drink.

Of course, they didn’t fare well without it, either.
Now that those occasions are so far in the past,
I wonder how it'd go to try to dance my way again
Through a group of semi-strangers talking rot?

Would it be different now that I have fewer expectations?
I start to think that’s so sometimes, but soon recall
Brief meetings a year or so ago with lovely Lois—
Though not in love, harsh loss and heartbreak turned up not
Far behind her that ended my exaltations just as soon as ever.

I discovered again my capacity for hopeless indignation
And continued inclination to show my ass when annoyed.
It’s part of my eternal damnation that I never come through,
Never entertain in time the notion that I might be
Boring or stupid instead of the other damn fool!


Current draft: 4/10/2010
Created on 3/26/2010 2:53 PM

Friday, April 09, 2010

Some Facility

There’s been a turndown in my learning capacity—
It’s been more than five years since I could still
Learn a new system of maneuvers with some facility,
But that seems gone. I feel so simple-minded.

All that I attempt is difficult,
Whether it’s a new thing I want to learn and can’t
Or some Swiss cheese topic I sweat to refresh,
But cannot guess my way through or long retain.
I veer away from each equally now

Because I don’t like to be tested
And I don’t like to admit it. You know,
Whether TV shows are too complicated or too fast or I’m
Just growing deaf, I’m always losing track of the story.

I used to have
A sharp imagination
And a Velcro memory,
But sometimes now it’s just mush.


Current draft: 4/9/2010
Created on 3/5/ 2010 1:21 PM

Thursday, April 08, 2010

What Can It Matter?

He was a caretaker at the cemetery when he said,
“What can it matter, after I’m dead? Things will go on
And fester or prosper without much praise,
And none will raise a stone or marble monument for me
And none will raise a strong objection to who inherits
And any damn fool will be sufficient to write my epitaph.”


Current draft: 4/8/2010
Created on 4/3/2010 11:46 AM

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

My Father Passed Away

“My father passed away,” said a woman's voice,
Speaking softly somewhere behind me on the bus.
I turned and looked back, but couldn’t tell
By anyone’s expression who had spoken.

I turned and faced forward again,
Thinking of various friends in the past
Who’d said the same words to me
Or words to that effect

And recalled as well the dour scenarios
In which I had to tell the same dire news
To some who did and some who didn’t know him,
The same dull choking news that all must say
Someday whether they can speak it well or not,

Whether they have religion that can sustain them or not
In whatever way may move them,
Whether their philosophy envelopes it and cushions it or not,
Whether any veil can mask it’s depth of sorrow or not.

My father’s been dead these twenty years
And I’m not used to it even now, except I know it’s true.
Sometimes I can decline to think of it,
Almost at times forget—but can’t get over it.
It may fade, but it never disappears.

Sometimes I’m glad that he’s not here
To see me do some things so badly;
But I also wish he were here
Because I know that he would help me.


Current draft: 4/7/2010
Created on 4/6/2010 4:46 PM

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

The Audio’s On

Since I had a stroke, old friends have assured me
That I sound all right, quite normal, but I doubt.
I hear it wrong; maybe it’s just a feeling from inside my brain
That can’t get out and that no one else can apprehend or sense.
The audio may be normal, but the brainwaves are suspect!

Perhaps my mind was always like that—like this—and no one
Ever knew what attempts at control were occurring there,
Though I certainly thought I did.
Maybe there were always connections
That I felt were obtuse or loose, askew or awry.

It’s sliding away from me,
Even when I don’t know what it is.
Am I lazy or just tired? It’s hard to tell.
I used to be lazy,
But it was nothing compared to this.


Current draft: 4/4/2010
Created on 3/28/2010 1:27 PM

College Girls

(Strange Tales #12)

Right now I’m afraid
I’ve murdered some college girls
Before I went to sleep last night.
It seems like that’s what I remember. They were
All alone and studying half-nude in their rooms,
All sweet and pure, you know the way they are.

Surely I would know it
If I’d killed them, you say,
But that’s how the cops always think.
Sometimes that’s why they’re so slow to apprehend.

I think I started with a rotund young blonde
Who was robust and busty, both!
Something delicious to tell your pals,
If I had any pals to tell, I mean.
She shouldn’t have opened the door like that
To just anyone who hollered “Pizza, Miss!” in a bored tone.

It worked just as well, though, on the next two dolls
Who were brunettes and very slim. I guess
They thought they could afford the calories,
They just couldn’t afford to meet me!

They cracked the door and peeked out and saw me
Fumbling with the empty pizza box
And a couple of dollar bills and change
That I’d swiped from blondie’s desk.

I imagine they’re telling somebody in hell right now
How they thought the pizza guy looked okay!
Don’t any of these girls in the dorms ever know
If they did or didn’t order Delivery?

Oh, well, murder’s my game
And I take it rather seriously.
I used to play board games and canasta
With the same relentless intention in my youth.


Current draft: 4/4/2010
Created on 4/2/2010 7:18 PM

Monday, April 05, 2010


These poems may be nearly over. There's been nearly a dozen of my "strange tales" without much reaction, so I conclude that they were just more crap that I needn't have worked on with such attention. Anyway, I'm getting sleepy.

Nearly Over

(Strange Tales #11)

I thought I overheard the grayed old transvestite
At the midnight motor-psycho party say,
“I didn’t impress the girls or boys in the playground
Very much when I was young and nimble;
How could I expect much difference now?
If they only see now what I can see
In the mirror or out the window—
How little of me there is, every day, inside or out—
How I’ve grown soft and weepy and ugly. Pathetic!
I’ll lengthen my skirts and carry poison pens in my purse,
If that’s what it takes, though I worry it won’t be enough.
There’s no other way to deal with it, n’est-ce pas?
I’m afraid everything I think or wish would be nearly over.
It would not take a sharp appraiser’s eye very long,
Now would it, to pass such bargains by?”


Current draft: 3/29/2010
Created on 3/3/2010 2:59 PM

Sunday, April 04, 2010


(Strange Tales #10)

It feels like I’ve worked so hard lately,
The grizzled chief gravedigger moaned—
Though not compared to what
I’m supposed to be able to do—
That all of life just seems ludicrous.

I am tired all the time
And tireder still
If I attempt anything of consequence.

At home I never essay anything much more debilitating
Than washing clothes and hanging them in closets
Or picking up fallen twigs and branches in the yard,
And yet I feel quite beaten, in almost any sense.
I guess one day I’ll just be walking along
And fall headlong into a hole.


Current draft: 3/29/2010
Created on 3/24/2010 1:26 PM

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Overcome It

(Strange Tales #8)

“I can’t express it exactly,”
The Venetian Vampire said one afternoon,
“But eating solid food often makes me
Feel spiritually choked, regardless of what it is.

“I try to think, This will pass. I concentrate on the motion
Of the boat and if I’m lucky, I overcome it,
But still I seldom eat more than half of anything
Except small portions or a glass of blood-colored wine.”

“I begin attentively by cutting every portion in two
And imagine I’ll eat the rest later.
Sometimes that’s possible,
Sometimes I can’t stuff it in.”


Current draft: 4/1/2010
Created on 1/17/2010 1:48 PM

Friday, April 02, 2010

Hatchet Woman

(Strange Tales #2)

Sometimes if you kill just one to begin with,
The curiosity of cats will bring another
And then another, and pretty soon
You have a crowd in the burial barrel.

I’d been linked by the Law
To the Hatchet Woman more than once,
But it hadn’t stuck even though I did know her well.

The Hatchet Woman could be so kind—
I liked to see her naked—
But not everyone could know her that way.

They continue to arrest her now and then
For this and that, but that doesn’t stick, either.
Boys accuse her of being a gypsy or witch, yet also of
Killing and eating black cats, which makes no sense.

There was a stink coming from her house last summer
And a lot of suspense, but the police found nothing,
And Sheriff Snell admitted he couldn’t stand the smell
Long enough to really look things over.

I made her meet me down by the creek and get dirt on her
Back all that worst month until the odor passed.
I must admit I burned at least a hundred incense sticks
In the crawl space under her house and spread lime, too.

In the end
There was no one missing from home,
No pets reported missing, either,
And the sheriff vowed to forget the whole damn thing.

He told the town he was sick of the gossip
And was going fishing!
I wondered why they never heard from him again,
But I expect he decided he didn’t like the fishing here.


Current draft: 3/30/2010
Created on 3/25/2010 5:20 PM

Law Of Averages

(Strange Tales #9)

I guess the law of averages
Just wanted me to stay at home
Without any sugar-free cookies
And with that cold colored corpse that day.

In any case, it was not an elective.

Whether anything clever can be said
About the laws of aversion and gravity
Or old Aunt Mae’s embrace of Negro gardeners
In her dotage, I don’t know, but I wish I did.
Whether legal or lawless,
We white men always feel we ought to know
Or we’d lose control of it all.


Current draft: 3/31/2010
Created on 2/15/2010 11:48 AM

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Just A Hermit

(Strange Tales #6)

“You’re just a hermit,”
The ghost of whimsy said,
“No matter how you cut it.”
Then she disappeared in smoke,

“What would you have,”
I replied as I sharpened my knife,
“When talk about drugs and mayhem is already so cheap,
Shall I tell another wretched lie?”


Current draft: 3/30/2010
Created on 3/28/2010 10:53 AM

Get On You

(Strange Tales #7)

Boy, would I like to get on you!
I said to the girl that night.
Is that too rambunctious and crude?
It probably is,
But I’m just the one to do it.

“Get on with you,” she said dismissively,
“I’d rather smell a fart.”
I’d like to get on with you better than this,
I told her, even if it cost me dearly!
“Your wallet won’t get you anywhere,” she replied.


Current draft: 3/23/2010
Created on 3/16/2010 7:30 PM