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A Thought for Today

June is for juggling, for getting rid of spring and moving into summertime. The beach is but a backrest waiting to fold down into August. I could be saved by hearing you say no as surely as salvation lies on the velvet forehead of yes. Not knowing is a nod toward damnation.



Dear Rod, I just didn’t know who you were when I saw a poetry recital on Sonny and Cher, or the Smothers Brothers. I didn’t much care for a scruffled besotted poet then, but I knew you were somebody.

I search for old and dated music movies and got one that features you as a acoustic bass player in a band whom Fay Wray is the mother of one of the boys,' a pre gidget Frankie Avalon? But finally I bought the three CD Beat Generation compilation and there you were In the beginning and I found out in this way your influence and meaning in our post war beat culture. And my so-called hip Aquarian culture.

My best treasures on earth are found first with distaste and finding that thirty years later the seed had grown into an orchard of fortune. You are my culture, my music and my visionary. I must find out more about you. Glad I have this I-Mac with Sherlock 2. Thank you, now I must read up on his Majesty Lord Buckly! Larry Williams

Dear Larry, Besotted? I love it, but I’ve never had a drink before a TV show that I can remember, not even in Johnny Carson’s Green Room. The worst are the famous ‘lounges’ at the BBC where they try to get you smashed before you go on the air to ‘loosen you up,’ hoping you’ll say something provocative. I’m hardly a teetotaler though, I love to knock back a few at home, unless I’m at a party or on the town and someone else is doing the driving.

“The Beat Generation” has been a steady seller since its release on Rhino several years ago. For the complete McKuen “Beatsville” CD try Stanyan By Mail. Not only does it contain the completely restored album but there are added tracks including “Age is Better” and several vocals. The best and most unique part of the disc is that it contains a computer font called “Daddy O Beatsville” which can be downloaded for both PC’s and Mac’s. It even has caricatures of Keroac, Cassidy & yours truly (with & without beard.)

The font is very heavy on dingbats and devices, plus a unique alphabet. The disc is on sale and I’ll go so far as to offer a money back guarantee if you’re not satisfied. Am I pleased with it? You bet. I’d go so far as to say I’m besotted with it.

The famous Buffalo New York Font Foundry P22 put it out. They also designed The Stanyan House Font, which has turned out to be a best seller for them. The award winning type craftsman and bookbinder Richard Kegler is the man behind both fonts. By the way you can check out these fonts and all the P22 family online at If you’re a font freak (and what Mac man isn’t) you’ll love P22. “Rusting in the Rain” will be issued in the Stanyan Font and “A Soldier of the Heart” will be set in P22’s Frank Lloyd Terracotta.

I’m delighted to be mentioned in the same paragraph with my old buddy (the truly scruffy Lord Buckley.) As for your homework on me, if you’re sincere about it you’ve got a helluva lot of catching up to do with 200 albums to listen to and 60 books to flip through. Best advice, hang around the ASPTL site or come to a concert where I’m truly in my element. Please, please, if you do, don’t forget to come up and introduce yourself and remind me about your letter.

Someone who didn’t like my work or at best was indifferent to it at first and then grew to appreciate it . . . I like that in a man. Hang in there and thanks for a letter that was nice to get & fun to read. All the best to you Larry, Rod


Good Morning Rod, Just saw this on one of the book sites... you are getting very expensive.

“Moment to Moment by Rod McKuen, Price: $1,400.00
Availability: Usually ships in 2 business days. Condition: Used - Like New. Seller's comments: Fine / No Jacket / Slipcase / Signed / 1 of 1000 copies printed & bound- 143 pages Cheval Books; ISBN: 0671219219 Seller: jfw43 zShop Quantity: 1 Accepted Payment Methods: Payments. Location: Marietta, GA, United States” Jay

Dear Jay, I hate to disappoint the bookseller in Marietta but Dwight already lists the signed and numbered, boxed First Editions of “Beyond the Boardwalk” (new, not used) at $30.00 on the Stanyan By Mail page. This only goes to prove when you see a listing for something by RM, check with Dwight first. Chances are you’ll find it a bit more reasonably priced (for $1,400.00 Stanyan would sell you 46 copies but he tells me he only has around two dozen copies left & isn’t raising the price).

Thanks for the info, Jay. I know you and Cheryl are sailing off the coast of Alaska right about now, hope you’re not freezing your buns off. As ever, Rod


I am searching for the profoundness in life ...and somehow I do not think there is any such answer.

"Unto each season something IS special", and you and your works have been that something special to my seasons. Thank you for your writings, they are comforting, perplexing, and have fit into many facets of my life. Ann Marie

Dear Ann Marie, It’s an old cliché but like many, it happens to be true, the best part of life is the journey and if we knew all the answers it might take a lot of fun out of the trip.

Keep your eyes and ears open along the way and you’ll find yourself stumbling on many profound truths on your journey. With Affection, Rod


Rod, Just wanted you to see this. I am continuously amazed at the products that are available. I used to have an original (I think) LP of "In Search Of Eros" with a statue of a man and a woman embracing with an almost black background. Which is the real thing? Sorry, curiosity has the best of me and the price was so good on this, I am bidding on it from ebay, just because I want to compare it to mine.

How can we know which items are the real ones? Any symbols we can look for or particular somethings? I'll gladly send it to you if you'd like, perhaps if it is fake, you could use it to help stop the imposters!

Thanks for visiting the board last week, we treasure your words like pearls! You are very precious in our lives... please, keep coming back!! Can't wait for Wyoming in July! Warm tickles and touches... D'Marie

Dear DM, The tape you mentioned is authentic. Over the years CBS/Columbia/Sony/Epic has released “In Search of Eros” with several different covers. The tape with the cover you describe is the one that is currently for sale from Stanyan By Mail.

As far as I know there are no pirate versions of “In Search of Eros” out there – with one exception. Not long ago I heard of one available in England.

Thanks for alerting me. There are pirate records of mine out there, particularly in Asia (see the following letter). The only way you can be sure something is genuine is to do as you did, check with me first.

When we finally show all the album jackets in the discography, even the pirate covers will be pictured. I’m excited about the Balloon Rally & Concert in Riverton too. By the way I’ve just added a book signing the day after the concert, Sunday afternoon the 22nd after I get back from a balloon ride. It’ll be at Books & Brier in Riverton. Books & CD’s will also be available at the concert. Affectionately, Rod.


Rod, I found a website in Korea, that apparently sells CDs. Anyway, if you do a search for "McKuen" on this site it lists several of your CDs. I think they are CDs but I can't read Korean. Anyway the surprise is a listing for "Pastorale".

Do you know about this CD? Is your friend Steve Ann producing it? Take Care, Leland.

Dear Leland, “Pastorale” turns out to by the LP issued in Japan at the same time Warner Bros. released it in the USA. It is identical to the U. S. version, with the exception of the missing booklet in the Japanese version. There are two pirate “Greatest Hits” CD’s on the same page and “La Mer II” is nothing more than “Speaking of Love” with several missing tracks.

Steve tells me my LP’s are currently going for $100 & up in Korea. (Dwight and I are thinking of going to Seoul and unloading a couple hundred of the LP’s we have in the warehouse. Just kidding, of course)

Steve is in Korea at this very minute supervising another printing of “A Safe Place to Land.” 6,000 plus copies (sold only through our website) isn’t bad for 4 weeks, it’s gotta be some kind of record.

As you may remember, the first 4000 arrived with two copies of disc one and had to be manually opened with the second disc replaced & then resealed. Fortunately the rest were OK, but I am still opening and restuffing copies of that initial batch.

By the way, Leland, thanks for the new database you sent, it’s terrific. As ever, Rod.


Rod: I can’t wait to see you in Redding and especially after a picnic in the park. Will you be reading poetry or singing or both? Caroline Wick


Dear Rod, Will there be books and CD’s available at the Riverton Concert? Joe Kelley


I am looking forward to your appearance in Santa Fe. Dave


Dear Rod: What an absolutely beautiful city, Santa Fe. I have been there many times and have attended the Indian Market (always in August) 3 times. I will see you there my friend. How fortunate Santa Fe to have Rod McKuen! Only 6 hours from my door step here in Goodyear, AZ. :) :)'re getting closer to my home! Thinking warm Arizona thoughts to and for you, Sonja Kennedy

Dear Caroline, Joe, Dave and Sonja, Just so there won’t be too many surprises, each appearance will be something quite a bit different from the other.

In Redding California (July 1st) I’ll be one of the speakers at the second annual Celebration of Life Rally. No songs or poems, just some honest words concerning my feelings on human rights. It’s free and open to the public. I’ll tell you more about this next week.

The Rendezvous in Riverton, Wyoming consists of a Hot Air Balloon Rally and in the evening on the 21st of July I’ll be doing a full two-hour concert with my new band. Yes, CD’s and books will be available and I’ll be hanging around town the next day for a book signing at the Briar & Books store.

A week later on Sunday Afternoon the 28th of July in Santa Fe, NM I’ll be one of a number of artists (see concerts and appearances on the home page for the names of others) who will each perform two songs. I haven’t decided which ones I’ll do yet but this is for Santa Fe Cares a very worthy cause that helps in the fight against HIV & AIDS.

Hope to see many of you at one or more of these events. For me the diversity of it all is the ideal way to kick of summer. Warmly, Rod.

Tomorrow is “Pass it Along” day at ASPTL so stop by and see some of the craziness that arrived in the E-mail box this week. Another Sentimental Saturday is coming up with a new unsent love letter. Sleep warm.

RM 6/14/01 Previously unpublished

Two new appearance dates just announced!

Booking for "An Evening with Rod McKuen" at the Riverton Rendezvous is open! Click below for more details:

Concert & Appearance Details

notable birthdays


Rod Argent o Gene Barry o Yasmine Bleeth o Cy Coleman o Boy George o Marla Gibbs o Steffi Graf o Che Guevara o Burl Ives o Jerry Kosinsky o Lester Lanin o Lash LaRue o Dorothy McGuire o Pierre Salinger o Harriet Beecher Stowe o Donald Trump

Rod's random thoughts To love, it is more important to learn the needs of others than to dwell upon our own.

I’ve no need to muzzle time. And, anyway, it’s running at a pace I couldn’t catch or stay abreast of even with the help of Mercury.

Passion makes its own perspective.


Red should not always stand for blood
not even that spilled by our fathers
                       and our sons
in the great parade of wars with numbers
Red is a sunset color
a painted desert dye
the color of the Arizona plains
and at certain times, the West Virginia sky.

Pride and purity may use the color white
but snow topped Colorado mountains,
ice across the Great Lakes in December
and Alaska every day of winter time
               claim the color first.
Not to mention that long strand of sandy Utah
and every New York / California beach.

So many uniform are blue
that we forgot the Truckee and the Mississippi
blue sky ocean to ocean, blue ocean sky to sky.

I know my history lesson, learned it well
that this nation to become a nation
ran forward into battle shouting freedom !
And often bore the tattered tri-color home again
for men to mend and start another battle new.

Aware I am
that flag makers make new fortunes
every Veterans / Decoration Day
and broken bodies bathed in canvas
        and the stars and stripes
have slid off ten thousand ships,
        maybe twenty thousand more,
to rest upon the bottom of the mother sea.
Excelsior at Iwo Jima.
               Bully at Bull Run.
One step for man and mankind
       murmured on the moon
Peace with honor... somewhere.

Gold Star mothers have their pride. Me too.
But I would rather paint my colors
               on a bright balloon
children then would wave at me
they never did the moon.

Old men who sit at tables making wars
don't do so in my name.
Not once, not twice, never again.
It has taken me two hundred years
to come down to this place.
I have earned the right to see red, white, and blue
not on a battered standard borne in battle
               but on my brothers face.
I love my flag.
To me it stands for love
kindness even to my enemy
and most of all, for brotherhood.

-from “The Power Bright & Shining,” 1980

© 1965, 1980, 2001 by Stanyan Music Group & Rod McKuen. All Rights Reserved
Birthday research by Wade Alexander o Poetry from the collection of Jay Hagan o Coordinated by Melinda Smith
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