Saturday, May 05, 2007

Some American ones

Some more.

My father Tony was for most of his life an enthusiastic ham radio operator. That's him above, in his "shack" from 1976 on, which was my old room. Part of the protocol of the hobby was the postal confirmation of on air contact in the form of "QSL" (confrimed signal) postcards. I inherited a shoebox full of them, cherry picked from perhaps four times as many. Many of the most interesting ones (including a large number from the Soviet Union) come from the years 1968 to 72 when we lived in Scotland.

amazing Django Reinhardt playing electric bop on a train in 1952!!

Kraft Dinner With Privileges

"It is the pastoral idea, that there is a complete copy of the human world
among dogs, as among swains or clowns."
William Empson

At last the anger ascends,
like the forking branches of a Bic tattoo
or the Lochside Fleet's rampant cross of gold,

shimmering now with revolutionary impatience
as at the Hot Club, Pol Pot slides his capo
two notches up the ukelele's neck

& after shaking out the crumbs
Lenin dries his kazoo on the radiator--
those of us who confuse improvisation

with such overpreparedness
will never understand the role of menthols
in the downfall of the Romanovs--

the Scrabble hustlers of Zurich
played through the pain,
& every croque they buttered

grilled & quartered
for the class ring & cider set
was a bucket of thick sand

dredged from the harbormouth of history.
On tiny Tampere couches they slept,
pillows stuffed with discarded beards,

rode in sealed containers down the Chuckanut
& six decades later a burning rag
is shoved through a bookstore mailslot.

At last the anger ascends--the chicken cook
is tried in absentia, his instruments
scattered to the flames while at Joe's

the Shining Path smirk through
Americanos as though at the clack of the
pool balls, while Rockit on the jukebox,

the hiss of the Victoria bus, a dog's jaws
closing on a frisbee, bandana flapping proclaim
Victory! Victory! Victory!

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Dog Eulogistics

"Few people nowadays observe their dogs to grin, and those who do
take it as a charming smile, but the grin of dogs seems then to have
been a part of their reputation for satire."
William Empson "The English Dog"

Never met a detour
it didn't like,
or that didn't have

a joke at the end of it--
rara avis strode the Rare Earth
born to wonder &

born to wander,
why trees refused pants
& cats umbrellas, why

the slave that made my T-shirt,
the slave that made my donkey chow
& the slave that melted my swiss just now

don't just walk barking
over the bodies of their symptoms
& out the door, like when

it turned out the witch's
kryptonite was water dig--
the clever flying monkeys

thought description sufficient
& didn't even have a plan A
thus found themselves a plant-mister away

from domination
by the Cowardly class--
still better under house arrest

in a postal facility
than dressed in brocade
and carried in a cup.

Monday, April 30, 2007

re-reading for the nth time (though as Larry Fagin observed a while back, not quite ever finishing) Ralph Berton's wonderful "Remembering Bix", about his teenage friendship with the immortal cornettist & was intrigued by his account of the overwhelming sensual impact of singer/dancer Bee Palmer (she wrote & sang "Please Don't Talk About Me When I'm Gone" & invented the shimmy!) Lots more info and some Realplayer sound files past the click...