FLIGHT FROM THE
22 July, 1998
on the Stanyan logo to subscribe to the McKuen Mailing List
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
Rod is on the road for a
couple of weeks and will be back with you at the beginning of September.
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.
MEN AT WORK
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
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
||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
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
except by those of us
to whom with age
truth becomes a way
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
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,
He thought a moment
then without a smile opined,
ballroom dancers should be stopped
whenever they attempt Swan Lake.
from "The Beautiful Strangers", 1981