Thursday, February 18, 2010
quick to laugh
quicker to shoot,
it sometimes makes no difference;
hot like the weather,
warm as gulf tides…
Carl and Junior will do anything
fix your brakes or watch
your back against strangers,
but they’ll turn on you like mad dogs
for the slightest provocation,
inadvertent shoulder bump,
They tolerate Jesus ‘cause he’s Mexican
and can work like a mule;
works like their fathers could,
holds his own
and they got to respect that…
whelped from sturdy stock, we’re
bred for drought and meanness,
lean and rough
we can run all night
rough at the edges
ragged as white trash,
sweat-stained and ripe
wearing out early in the heat of summers,
our time measured in dog years,
retired to the porch so early,
Monday, February 15, 2010
Friday, February 12, 2010
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
either in our mind or
on photo stock, which
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
Last week I watched the three-way GOP shit flinging contest, er, I mean "debate". Am I just daft, or does anyone else see the difference between these two camps?
Debra Medina, the dark horse Republican candidate, had me squirming in my seat with her far right wing railing against, well, just about everything, while eternal governor Rick Perry and fellow former cheerleader Kay Bailey Hutchison held a no-holds-barred Texas Grudge Match of innuendo, accusation, and pass-the-buckism at its finest. No accountability. No answers. Just finger pointing. If the buck doesn't stop there, what is the point?
So it was refreshing to watch White and Shami. White is seemingly unshakable and remarkably intelligent and articulate about the issues and what he plans to do about them. Shami, although at a disadvantage because of his thick accent and, at times, vagueness about the power of the governor, was passionate and had outside-the-box solutions to the problems.
I especially liked Shami's response that, to paraphrase, the solution isn't in continually cutting programs, but in growing revenues through job creation. Yet, at the same time, he wasn't touting the usual laissez faire attitude of "cut taxes for corporations, overlook pollution, and let business police itself" mantra of the Repubs. One thing Farouk Shami clearly understands is that we have a one-time opportunity to retool and create green jobs - solar and windpower in particular - or we will relinquish that role to China, whom clearly understands and is forging ahead while Nero fiddles.
But the main thing that stood out while watching these two men talk about the issues was their courtesy toward one another, even when they had differences. Not once do I remember either of them beginning a response with "My opponent..." - the typical political method of avoiding that they have no solution by going into attack mode. Someone once said, "When you point at someone else, three fingers are pointing back at you."
A real change of energy in the Texas Governor's Mansion would be as refreshing as West Texas breezes turning those wind turbines 24/7.
Sunday, February 7, 2010
rumbles within me
strikes the vein with his
deja vu in fact:
coming to me mere days after
a friend mentioned
she loved this poem, but I
A common occurrence
to stumble upon something
after hearing about it
with one ear, but
No matter; the vein
was pierced and the
lode became visible
as a brilliant wound.
Rumi would approve,
perhaps recommend I begin the
rip up the first floorboard
of my faulty mansion
Thursday, February 4, 2010
But don't be satisfied with stories, how things
have gone with others. Unfold
your own myth, without complicated explanation,
so everyone will understand the passage,
We have opened you.
Start walking toward Shams. Your legs will get heavy
and tired. Then comes a moment
of feeling the wings you've grown,
Start walking toward Shams...
As a writer I have to take that to simply mean START. BEGIN. Park butt in chair and begin to put characters on the screen or ink on paper. If I don't start walking toward Shams, nothing happens. I can wish to be in Shams and I can wish this novel would simply write itself, but that isn't the way it plays out. I (Yo, mi, Jim Pat, Jimbo, James, yours truly) have to start the process. There is a Chinese saying that "a journey of a thousand miles begins with one step." I'll just start walking. Like Fats Domino. But this close to the Super Bowl, that might sound partisan...
We have opened you.
Then the novel begins to write itself, begins taking its own direction. At that moment I can feel the wings I've been growing without my awareness begin to lift me higher. From this vantage point I see the curvature of the earth, hear my own heartbeat, understand the whispers of God.
Words and music. Oh yeah. Just make it to the Faulkner Society Words and Music get-down in New Orleans, and you'll know what I'm talkin 'bout. William Faulkner? Who dat?
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
When you think of your mother, what is the first song you think of? Tell us why.
This was the writing prompt this morning, and it opened a floodgate of memories:
First, you have to know that we affectionately referred to our mother as "Bette Elvis" because of her flaming flamboyant personality. She had long legs, big tits, looks to die for, and loved the spotlight. There wasn't a room my Mom couldn't play.
The problem was that she also had an inflated opinion of her vocal qualities, especially after a few martinis, and with the liquid courage coursing through her like antifreeze, she was likely to commandeer the stage, the band, and the audience at the Officers' Club or country club, new year's eve parties, or birthdays. And whenever my sister and I would hear her voice on the mic come floating above the heads of the revelers, our hair literally stood on end. Oh, to this day I can still feel the embarrassment.
"Okay, darlings," she'd begin in her best gin-soaked Marilyn Monroe wannabe voice, a little slurred around the edges, "I'm going to sing Frankie and Johnnie." (I can feel the shivers up my spine even now - like bamboo slivers being pounded into the quick of my fingernails.)
And off she would go, stumbling a little as she oozed about the stage like a cat in heat, doing a rendition of the old "shot my man because he done me wrong" blues epic, in a rendition that, by comparison, made Marilyn's "Happy Birthday, Mr. President" look like a preschool presentation.
But, God love her, even though she embarrassed the living hell out of us, there was something endearing about a woman who had the chutzpah to get up and perform like that. The people went wild for her, which only encouraged future performances.
Lynda and I would shuffle nervously in the back of the room, happy for the anonymous darkness, hiding our embarrassment by appearing unconcerned that it was our Mom up there.
But, you know, now that I'm older, I would have been wildly applauding that beautiful, crazy woman with the rest of the crowd. She was something else.
Monday, February 1, 2010
I told myself I would start my blog when I wrote out my resolutions for the new year. Today marks the start of the second month of this "new" year, so I'll argue that I'm still in the ballpark. Resolutions don't always get their proper comeuppance in January. Sometimes they never get a second thought. Hopefully this one will.
I've been having so much fun being a contributor to my friend Lene Gary's blog, Five Minute Mornings, http://fiveminutemornings.blogspot.com/
I wanted to maintain a similar brevity of posts. As a novelist, I've found the creative short shorts to be just the ticket to unmuzzle the dogs of creativity and let them howl. The first requirements will be to please myself, to make myself laugh, to gain insights. The second requirement will be to make you laugh too, Oh Reader...or cry...or gnash your teeth and wail against the demons of stupidity. In other words, hopefully make us both think and feel and escape the numbing predictability of the day. A tall order, but I've never ducked a challenge.
I can write about most anything, but I am only knowledgable about what I already know. As Edie Brickell sang: "I'm not aware of too many things. I know what I know if you know what I mean."
But then she also reminds us "Don't let me get too deep." I'm sure I'll hear from you if I do.
I'll touch on a lot of things - from my practice of karate and yoga, to story and novel excerpts, personal "Ah-ha's", travel memoirs, and whatever strikes my fancy. Like I said, this is MY baby.
Authorial disclaimer: I like fiction because it's, well, fiction. So don't expect that I've actually done everything I write about. If you aren't sure, then I'm doing something right. (Remember the joke about the guy selling the talking dog for ten bucks? The dog tells the buyer about the amazing adventurous life he's led - bomb sniffer, CIA dog, etc. When the potential buyer asks the seller why is he selling such an amazing animal for so cheap, he replies "Because he's a liar. He never did half of that stuff.")
So that's what Tiny Stories is all about. Just remember, although diminuitive, they could be giants!