KUB PICKS A POEM
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Photo by Bob Gentry ©2001
A Thought for Today
Compassion is the best friend anybody
ever had. It’s good for those who receive it and better for those
willing to pass it along.
As I was getting ready to
leave for the studio again this morning Kubby Kat Too (in an attempt to
get my attention, stop me or merely make a little mischief) knocked a copy
of “Intervals” from off a bookshelf. It fell open to “Pacing Off the Lower
Forty. That happenstance is how today’s poem was chosen.
I liked his choice. Maybe he’ll give me a helping paw more often.
Pacing Off the Lower Forty
And I said to him, call me.
Not too early, not too late,
call before you come
with gifts of interruption
and impossible requests
for friendship, cups of sugar
green tomatoes, cans of Flit.
I’m on deadline. One of many.
You want sympathy? I haven’t any.
And no time.
If there were time, real time
I’d figure out a way to say IT
(that thing still lurking
in my head someplace
should be said or shouldn’t.)
without resorting to book writing,
the agony that has no ecstasy
at other end.
With time I could invent
and not go on depending
on endless reinvention.
all favors have been called
every borrowed minute has been used.
And still last contract book stumbles
on familiar ground without an ally.
Could the poet
even die on deadline,
meet God’s schedule
than his own?
Stuff still moves into my rooms
willfully and without bidding.
It crowds me out, demanding time
away from work that has no pleasure.
Here, then, some answers
to waiting correspondents:
If you are out of red, send the blue.
Enclosed my access number and regards.
The answer to your question is, I would
but not with so many unwashed watching.
Remove my name from the Franklin Mint
mailing list. Thank you.
I love you too, but in another way.
I’ll die if I’m not held again or do
Please send catalogue of 50,000
classical LPs described in your Fanfare ad.
Dear Michael: Uptime is the only
my doctor approves of. Send case.
Excuse me from performing jury duty.
Shoot the bastards.
Visiting Japan again in October.
Please arrange meeting with head of Sony.
Purple Rose of Cairo, Yellow Rose of Texas,
Rosemary’s Baby. Don’t know other seven.
Whitman because he liberated the language.
Sandburg for keeping the language intact.
I like Jiffy peanut butter because
I want to win the million dollars.
There is almost always
something better to be done
than writing books or letters.
The garden sends an invite.
At three o’clock the Four o’Clocks
make ready to reopen. Be there.
And at the garden’s other end
violence has moved from street
to melon patch.
New headlines fly in from the meadow:
DICHONDRA INVADES BABY TEAR
IN BOLD GROUND COVER FIGHT
* * * * *
SLUGS CAUGHT AT SIGHT OF
HALF DEAD HOSTAS
* * * * *
APHID GANG ASSASSINATES MR. LINCOLN
* * * * *
FERNS FRY IN HEAT ATTACK
And so I go off through the grass
to cheer on Johnny-jump-ups,
and slice spice branches for a stew.
Tomato vines in need of feeding
wilt down in mock suicide
until I mix narcotic fix
( 2 parts Spoon-it, 1 part Miracle-Gro ).
Cucumbers are all leaves and vine
from too much water
their fruit mere pimple-pricks.
No one’s trimmed the backyard hedge
so Century City’s disappeared again.
Enough new rhubarb now
for rhubarb pie.
Two gardenias open
on a bud-filled bush
and I’ve not filled a single page
with sentence scratching.
I leave the morning glory
and the ivy
to mid-morning mayhem,
pack the cats off with head-scratch
heat the coffee, close the door,
Rachmaninoff at the ready
I begin again.
The bull of Minos
and fell on fours.
Kind Ariadne... shit...
I could let it ring. I will.
No good news is on the way –
the lottery is two months off.
One day, pretending circumcision,
I’ll slice the telephone’s umbilical
till then, God damn Alexander Graham.
A stack of unread papers
and others set aside
for second reading
has grown another foot.
Recipes and regimens
under rosary paperweight
rearrange the dust in living sculpture.
I say my prayers. I brush my teeth.
I think of all those things
should be writing down.
All this is exercise enough
to tire poet, prophet, annotator.
And there’s a salad to be tossed,
a four-line rhyme to set aside
The potted thyme has mealybugs
the potted sage has withered
the potted seed has gone to pot
and I am not who you imagined.
I imagine I am someone else.
It is the telephone again
insisting I am here when I am not,
such conceit to ring out interruption
as if it were worthwhile endeavor.
I will not surrender to unthinking bell,
Give in once and it’s all over.
Kind Ariadne’s apron opened
scattered shells in dust
bull-man heard the bells
and charged the coast.
What maze –
A new song spews
from dreaded Westlake School for Girls,
it shatters through the hills of Beverly
blotting birdsong, loon chorale,
Mozart sonata practiced in the music room,
low bee-buzz in lily.
Not cherubim or seraphim
but Sean’s Madonna in a workout
on school pornograph.
Pile driver beat kills couplets.
Overdubbed shah-na’s smother sickly muse
so tired of all these rewrites
she now calls in trumped-up excuse
The cats are back from cupboard sleep,
hunger’s hit two hours early.
Pollen waits till now for sneak attack.
Where’s the tablets? Where’s the justice?
Where’s the highway through the maze and out?
Ariadne’s somewhere spinning
closed to any thought of help.
-from “Intervals”, 1986
A NOTE FROM
A number of people have
experienced difficulty over the past week in getting mail through to both
Rod and I at the mckuen.com addresses. I won't bore you with the details -
suffice to say the problem has now been rectified and both addresses are
Apologies for the
inconvenience and if it happens again, remember our alternate addresses
- Ken, Johannesburg, May 5
It's taken some time but
finally we're delighted to announce the posting of a selection of
photographs from both the Thousand Oaks and Aurora concerts. You can
reach them via the link below.