My New Clock

...living in a more rural place these days,
and generally being well out of any loops,
professional and otherwise,
i think i need a new time piece
that fits how i live better...

like, what good is 'a second'?

i can't get anything done in a second,
and that stupid ticking just distracts me
and stresses me out.

'a minute' isn't much better.
even when people say 'give me a minute',
they never mean 60 seconds.
they usually mean like 5 minutes.
and so on.

... this setting would read
"monday, nearly full moon, almost fall",
which is just about as oriented
as i get these days...



Stumble Upon Toolbar




thinking out loud.

sept 21/10


Stumble Upon Toolbar


for Marek Alexandre Boleslaw Goertz

a soft red velvet bag, with a necklace of beads
that spell the name we knew him by,
the name we will recall him with.

a lake, wrapped in green pine hills as the ashes
and not-quite crushed bones that were once my oldest friend are held, for a moment, in my arms.

"you've lost weight, Bobo..."

a scandalous thought?
an appropriate one?

cluster of umbrellas shift on crunching stones, murmuring voices and sobs soft as breath.
one by one, little hands and larger ones gather
what remains of him here and set him free again,
into this pretty, peaceful lake.

the sky too is full of tears, and since i don't have any of my own, i take off the hat of his, that's come to me and stare eyes shut into this saddening sky...

...until my fingers too slip into these bits of bone and ash and i lay my hand onto, into the cool muddening water, swirling my fingers

and i am murmuring too...

"if i don't meet you no more in this world,
i'll meet you on the next one....

i move along, standing further and further aside and look back up into that sky again for more of those misty tears. i hold my hands out, palms up, as i have been taught so long ago by other waters not so far away and thank the creator, for having been a part of the journey of such a strange angel as this, my friend...

whose days and worse-yet nights were so often filled with a pain beyond speaking, beyond healing and who yet would fill so many rooms and days and nights and memories with so much joy and golden laughter...

who even now as i stop to think of him again comes to me only as a smile, and other smile, and another, like a roomful of mirrors...

i've never found much comfort in catechisms; i don't presume to know the name of god or that he knows me by mine; it's rare enough even now after all these years that i can even hold the wonder of creation in my mind's eye long enough to catch a moment's rapture, or to be thankful for the miracle my senses immerse me in each day...

but i do take comfort in this moment, this lake, this gathering and the feeling that my dearest, oldest friend is now beyond the pain he could never transcend too long here.

and i take comfort that when i think of him now it is the smiling and the laughter and the magic i remember...


later this same day, as the ashes settle into the lake, a larger group convenes in a hall by salty water for stories and wine and food all evocative of himself...

i make it as far as the entrance, take a few steps inside and return to porch outside the door. on my best day, i do not do crowds well or interiors, and this is far from a best day. andy and i go back almost as long together as we each do with mark, and together we convene a small, whispering wake, single malt and cigarettes as we watch the tide and the river of faces come and go...

among them, some rise into focus as though they too were emerging from the waters of memory into the here and now. there are strong embraces that linger, warm as blood and we meet each other's eyes more fearlessly than we ever could before today.

in my ear, mark whispers "today, i will drink only mescal". i take the bottle from my pack and whisper back "tonight, i will drink only absinthe".


i am thankful to be at this gathering, and that those more able than i have conjured it, even if this rainy porch is as close i can draw near. i am glad to see some of these faces again after so long, and to hold some of these hearts close again, if only for a moment or two.

before the afternoon is over, there will even be a moment to make a little peace where there hasn't been any for far too long with someone mark and i both traveled a long way with...i'm glad to feel a sincere desire to do that, and then to actually do it, with his family looking on.

many of the people here are strangers to me and i'm glad of that too. there is only one where i harbour an evil feeling. i imagine just how easy it would be to draw him into an embrace, then drive my knee into his nuts, give him a glasgow kiss and while he writhes on the ground, whisper a promise of more to come, one day soon. i savour that image for a moment, and then i let it go...like ashes, into the water...


the days that follow are even more dream-like than usual. my journey here has been a long one. i've left behind a father drifting further into his own raging orbit every day, and a brother whose cancer has taken his legs and now threatens his life, but this is not why i have come or am content to be here now, remembering...

there will never be another man like this, and so there will never be another death like this. for all his pain, no one moved through so many worlds with such ease and grace, no one ever lit a room or a journey with joy as he could and this gathering was, i think, his last and loving gift to the rest of us who shared his journey.

what we do with our memories of mark, or with the blunt reminder that 'someday' never comes, what we do with the knowledge he has impressed upon us all so vividly that none of us know the name or number of our busy, busy days is only and ever up to us...



Stumble Upon Toolbar


Muslims? What? Where?

this brilliant illustration kicks ass to the moon.

it's a perfect graphic illustration of why
a picture is worth a thousand words.

the wham-bam-thank-you ma'am mix
of what it is that's so amazing about
our American cousins on a good day
- ie -
almost 250 post-revolutionary years later,
there are still some people
for whom saying what is right,
doing what a truly sentient being might imagine

and then do.
people for whom speaking out loud and clear,
and smart
and funny
is a right.

a tradition.

a hope.

i mean like...lions and tigers and bears, oh my, OK, oi vey, i get it already!

it's not like i'm so naive that i thought building a Muslim community centre anywhere in the lower 48 wouldn't push some big red buttons for some of our American cousins...

but i did think that
founding fathers-wise, "freedom of religion" was pretty deeply embedded south of the border. 
cut and dried.
open and shut.
slam dunk.




stranger than fiction are the end days of empire...


...witness Mr. Beck and Ms. Palin babbling on "the virtues that have sustained America" as a prelude to why some of their fellow Americans should be excluded from the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

their unnatural gassing is so far beyond irony, it's toxic. toxic like the natural gas in shale.
like a McDonald's meal the next day.

the constitution is the road map here, isn't it? isn't it the essence of the whole  American project? isn't that the freedom that others are supposedly envious of?

isn't that why troops have been in harm's way, and fighting, and dying? for freedom?

seems to me if someone thinks these people should be forbidden to build a place of worship, they don't support the troops.



Stumble Upon Toolbar


Einstein... zing!

i have always admired/been amazed
by Albert Einstein...
stumbling across this idea of his
the other day only increased
all those good feelings...

part of why i was so pleased
to run into this bit
of Einsteinian wisdom
probably has to do
with the way this idea
of his resonated with a thought
that went through my head
a while back....



Stumble Upon Toolbar


Life & Death...

...sometimes it's kind of funny.

sometimes it's not...



Stumble Upon Toolbar


Harvey Pekar, American Artist

It was July 10th, just after midnight, when his wife looked in on him and discovered Harvey Pekar, one of the most singular voices in American literature, had died.

He grew up in Cleveland, the son of a Talmudic scholar, and aside from a stint in the US Navy, he lived there all his life. For many years, he worked as a file clerk at a veteran's hospital. 

In the mid-60s, his love of jazz music led to a friendship with Robert Crumb, and he was inspired to create his own underground comic, American Splendour.

He described American Splendor as "an autobiography written as it's happening. The theme is about staying alive. Getting a job, finding a mate, having a place to live, finding a creative outlet. Life is a war of attrition. You have to stay active on all fronts. It's one thing after another. I've tried to control a chaotic universe. And it's a losing battle. But I can't let go. I've tried, but I can't."

One of many things that made his work so unique was the wide variety of illustrators he worked with over the years. The result is a series where Harvey's writing is a consistent element while the visual styles cover the waterfront of contemporary graphic novels.

His fellow cartoonist Seth said Harvey was "...probably the first person who wanted to use the comics medium seriously as a writer. Certainly the first person to toss every genre element out the window and try to capture something of the genuine experience of living: not just some technique of real life glossed onto a story — not satire, or sick humor or everyday melodrama — but the genuine desire to transmit from one person to another just what life feels like."

His life was not an easy one, but he would never let his work shrink away from the day to day, whether it was funny, horrific, or both.

Harvey earned the respect of his peers and the artists who followed behind him.

On a good day, he may even have found that rarest of artistic moments, where he even impressed himself.

Harvey Pekar

October 8, 1939 – July 12, 2010

Learn more about this remarkable writer at these sites:






Stumble Upon Toolbar