Photography

In Blue Hawaii

Just got back from a quickie across the ocean.

20170115-1

Stayed up on the northwest tip of Kamehameha’s island.

20170115-0

Had a nice room with a patio view of a lush hillside.

20170115-2

Got to spend some time at the beach.

20170115-3

20170115-4

Went to see some touristy historical sites.

refuge

Took a hike through a lava-locked pikupa forest.

pikupa

Checked out the Kohala coast.

kohala-1

kohala-2

Watched Venus rise over palms.

venus

Had to come home much too soon.

20170115-5

Afternoon in Amsterdam

fl000009

Many thanks to Sandy River Review for publishing (most) of the following poem in their Fall 2016 issue.

Afternoon in Amsterdam

                                                                     —for Roland Möe

Forget the red-light district

. toothless skirts from overseas

.. imported age-old fantasies

.

I ask the way to the Van Gogh show

. a bearded local walks me there

.. we smoke a bowl on a smoky bench

.

Inside, alone, nose close to canvas

. amazed by heavy strokes of pain

.. such violence in a starry sky

.

Someone tugs my sweater sleeve

. that beard with marijuana breath

.. twice my age, here to persuade

.

I say I’m hungry, leave the show

. he follows, knows a place not far

.. leads me back to his second-floor flat

.

Up steep and narrow bohème steps

. he serves up bowls of stovetop gruel

..  veggies and grains, a sweet-spice stew

.

Once he tastes, I try a bite

. smoke another bowl, relax, unwind

.. he lays a lazy hand upon my knee

.

Downstairs, distressed, I say I’m beat

. heading back to my hotel to sleep

.. he begs me not to go—Please, stay

.

Half his age, afraid of his long song

I find my way to the red-light zone

.. still unsure if any road leads home

 

Paint Jobs

Last month, we had the house painted.  The old paint was peeling off and just looked terrible.  Last year, we put a new roof on the house.  Now, we’ve got a fresh coat of paint.  Plus, we directed the painters to pay close attention to the bas-relief, especially its flowery pattern.

img_2221-small

Here’s a close-up of the bas-relief.

img_2225-small

I was so moved, I just had to draw the house in my sketchbook.

20161204-small

Still moved, I decided it was time to start experimenting with some watercolor pencils.

20161205-1-small

Yep… Home, Sweet Home.

Two More Euro Poems

chinio-abel

Many thanks to Bindweed, an online literary journal, for publishing the follow two poems — two more from my series about my travels through Europe in 1980.  That’s me in the middle, between Chino and Abel, with the eponymous Volkswagen van behind us.

Volkswagen Van

                                               “We never see him.”   —Louis XIV

Grand chateau, once royal court of France

  now packed with peasants on bus tours from Paris

    —and me curled up in a Volkswagen van

.

Where once purple kings and sycophants pranced

  dancing with stars on a moonlit terrace

    this grand chateau, this royal crown of France

.

Now hosts a daily deluge—trash cans

  full of coffee cups, littered souvenirs

    and me curled up in a Volkswagen van

.

When one past prince fell ill at romance

  too ashamed to be seen, too embarrassed

    he shunned the chateau, a sin across France

.

Like him, I’m alone, a grin with no glance

  never to know a stroll with an heiress

    only the hold of a Volkswagen van

.

.

Railway Deli

                       —Train to Venice, 1980

Parents packed with diaper bags; infants, kids

    stuffed like peppers in a carriage corridor

.

Uniformed soldiers smoking San Miguels

    strung-up salamis, olives in a jar

.

I close my itchy eyes, dream of first-class seats

    roomy leather arms, air-con breeze

.

I pop a Coca-Cola, pour bubbles over ice

    prop my tired feet, sip the countryside

.

But eyes blink open, burning from the stench

    thin tin can, narrow wooden bench

.

Three Welcomes (Sorta)

Barcelona Old Man

Many thanks to *82 Review for publishing the following poem in their Fall 16  4.3 issue.

Tres Bienvenidos

                           —Barcelona triptych, 1980

1)  Pensione Viejo

.

Corner room with noon-blue walls

   peeling plaster, thin twin bed

      old wood dresser, stuck dresser drawer

.

Across the courtyard, canary in his cage

    old man, too, staring from his window sill

       old brown jacket, old brown cap

.

When I bid him Buenos dias

    he tip-taps out his cigarette

      pulls the shutters shut

 

2)  Muchachas no Tocas

.

 Up the Rambla, down the Rambla

   city locals selling country crafts

      wooden tables, rickety stalls

.

Spanish girls strut by, thick dark ropes of hair

   eyes tagged only on merchandise

      flowers and seashells, candy and clothes

.

I ask the price of a white gauze scarf

   girl behind the table yanks it from my hand

      spats at me in CatalanNo, no toquis!

 

3)  Lluevos no Quieros

.

.Sidewalk table, white-coat waiter

   unfolds a fancy café menu

      basket full of sticky rolls

.

I order café con leche, plate of scrambled eggs

   sit back and watch the promenade

      parade of tourists, vagabonds like me

.

.The waiter brings my breakfast

   scrambled eggs over easy

      cup of coffee a cup of tea

.

Three Paris Poems

Champs-Elysees 2

Much thanks to Forage, an online poetry presence, for publishing the following three poems in their July 2016 issue.

Rue de Tessier

                                                                           —Paris, 1980

When I first sky her, I’m all eyes

   a hovering hawk, hedonistic high

       itchy skin aflame, wings open wide

.

I welcome her, unsuspecting mouse

   I’m in, I’m out; around, about

      our image on the mirror clouds

.

Soon, my hunger flies away, my bloodied beak

   I look to my wrist for a reason to leave

      desire now an empty cup of tea

.

Parisian Park

                                                       —April 1980

Alone in a city of choices

   culture, croissants, corner cafes

      two thousand years of touristry

.

Still, no baguette can satisfy

   if I cannot just sit and feed

      quiet on this weathered wooden bench

.

One small bite soon invites another

   all become familiar, all the same

      each contains its craving itch for more

.

A finch alights on the edge of my bench

   cocks her hooded head, blinks an eye

      feathers ruffle up her throat—she goes

.

I’m mired by these daily hikes to night

   my search for food, my thirsty mood

      send the oceans, wash me home to sea

.

Still in Paris

                                                             —May 1980

Ducklings on the river Seine

   small beaks safe behind a drake

     and me—no one to follow

.

Along the bustled Champs-Élysées

   people bump and humble me

      makes no difference where I go

.

My father must be home across the globe

   painting or pounding inside the garage

      pruning his backyard garden

.

I could pluck a pistol from my pants

   taste its barrel, suck its bitter rind

      no one home would ever know

.

I pause my hunger, shut my eyes

   poked and nudged, ignored

      a stone in the bed of a river.

.