22 July, 1998














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Rod in action at The Riverton Rendezvous, July 2001. 
Photograph courtesy Jay Hagan.

A Thought for Today

The gossip of the hour makes the hour worthless.


Rod is on the road for a couple of weeks and will be back with you at the beginning of September.

Dear Rod,

I discovered A Safe Place to Land soon after it went on line in 1998. You and your web master Ken have done an extraordinary job of making this reflective spot on the web an important stop for me every morning. I agree with Jay Hagan that the best flight plans are those where we learn more about Rod McKuen the human being and what is happening in his daily life.

Your diaries of the moment are the best but some of the jottings from past journals are important because they show so many different sides of you. In July 1998 you had a flight plan called Men at Work. I think it showed RM as the concerned human being, the poet and the humorist. As Ken would say, “This one does it for me.” One more thing, “The Poet,” that day’s poem is one of your best and one I have committed to memory.

Chuck Rosin


It cleared today, just like that. Except for isolated puddles in gutters and especially potholes and pockmarks in the highway pavement, there is no evidence of yesterday's storm. The roadway needs work on every mile. It has much in common with other streets and highways I've traveled on in the past year. Maybe the Governor or President or somebody will discover that this country's roads and freeways are going to hell. A little while ago The White House learned our schools aren't what they should be. Of course no solutions were offered but we are assured a committee somewhere is studying the problem.. Leadership conveniently forgets it's their pen that keeps teachers at sub-standard wage.

Manmade politics seems to have encroached on everything not made by man. Worse, private industry is seldom encouraged to do those things government should butt out of. To question your country isn't wrong. It's as fine an act as adding to it. But the river between questioning and denigration is a wide one. Demolition should not be carried out on a work in progress. Love of country is the same as love of self. What man is enamored of everything he does? If such a man exists, then he has blinders, is a braggart without merit, or is ill educated as to mirrors. Travel and you'll always come back home. There is no place quite like this one, anywhere.. But on home ground, contribute. Above all, never quarrel with your country on alien soil.

I wish someone would fix the potholes.

- from a notebook. First published 7/22/98 on "A Safe Place To Land"

Rod McKuen concert and appearance details can be obtained via the link below.

Concert & Appearance Details

notable birthdays Roy Blunt o Belinda Carlisle o Jean Clark o Glenn Corbett o Jim Courier o Davy Crockett o Robert De Niro o Melanie Haage o Ann Harding o Quincy Howe o V.S. Naipaul o Maureen O’Hara o Sean Penn o Francis Gary Powers o Larry Rivers o Franklin D. Roosevelt o Wilfred Seawen o Guillermo Vilas o Donnie Wahlberg o Mae West o Monty Wooley o Jiang Zemin
Rod's random thoughts Here comes the miracle you prayed for but certainly didn't expect.

Letters will always be necessary. No one is collecting Walt Whitman's computer readouts.

All of us are falling but we never realize it until we land.


He knew that life hangs on
           for each of us
only as long as we are able
             to be understood.
For him it was enough
if now and then a truth
bubbled to the surface
and made a little headway
through that day's lies.

And so his words and work
stayed largely private
           and unrecognized
except by those of us
to whom with age
truth becomes a way
              of reconciliation.

His last book
was the hardest
to get out of him
         and onto paper
for he had finally reached that time
                all authors pray for
when the lack of any need to compromise
                         takes over.
And so it was the verses contained therein
           were longer in the making,
                      and his best.

Why is it
people send me poems,
he once crankily said to me.
Don't they know that in this little life
there is barely time to get my own words
down on the page.

They believe in you,
I tried to reassure him.
Your opinion is their opiate.

Bullshit he replied
with unpoetic grandeur.
They seek a testimonial
and fill my postbox up with trash.

What about encouragement,
               I argued.
He thought a moment
then without a smile opined,
ballroom dancers should be stopped
whenever they attempt Swan Lake.

- from "The Beautiful Strangers", 1981

© 1981, 1988, 1998, 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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