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Flight Plan

20 January 1999

"You scratch my back & I'll scratch yours" by Bob Gentry 
2001 by Stanyan Entertainment Group

A Thought for Today

Purpose and will will move you through the darkest times.


The Twentieth of January, 1999 you had a Flight Plan worth repeating. Pauline Davis


The ocean rumbles on. Wave after wave, one over the other, faster than the preceding wave recedes. On the horizon, nothing. As far as I can see at either end, nothing.

There was a small rain this morning. No trace of it now, not on shore or sea. A school - or at most, half a dozen sharks zigzagged back and forth when the sea was calmer. Earlier a man walked down the beach. Never bending. Not stopping. Not collecting.

Far into January we are. Almost at the end. The comet didn't come. I watched some nights, got up early several mornings, but if a comet came or went or stays above me I failed to pick it out from all the other stars. Stars there are at night, aplenty.

Getting back to days, as each one deepens a breeze and then a wind grows more intense. I have said what there is to say. Described what I, myself, have seen. Beyond that, there is nothing. Nothing in abundance.

I do not accuse. There is no blame to place. Nothing's wrong. It's just that nothing's right.

I won't pretend that Holland was the starting point, for something that has started and now stops. Anyway, the Netherlands seem so many dozen years away. I can't explain Mexico as any more than what it is. Mexico. Boston begins, and is over, on one long weekend.

If I knew why I had the need to travel out of my own room, my space, to anywhere, I might be able to explain what's gone or isn't coming.

There are half a hundred sentences unfinished, unstarted on these pages. And as this out of season summer rolls beneath me and away, I wait. The mystery of the sea's no clearer than it was for me before. Worse, the mystery of myself grows harder to discern.

I am waiting. I will do so, while I can.

                             - from "Moment To Moment" 1973, 1975.

Two years ago when this Flight Plan first appeared it was accompanied by the poem "Beginning Again" from "The Sound of Solitude." Since I used that poem in a Flight Plan last week, I've substituted the one below.                                

Details of Rod's upcoming concerts and appearances can be obtained via the link below:

Rod McKuen Concerts & Appearances

notable birthdays Robby Benson o Emma Lee Bunton o Dr. Barney Clark o Geena Davis o Mac Davis o Christian Dior o Placido Domingo o Jill Eikenberry o Jinx Falkenburg o Richie Havens o Benny Hill o Wolfman Jack o Stonewall Jackson o Leadbelly (Huddie Ledbetter) o Angela Punch McGregor o J. Carrol Nash o Jack Nicklaus o Hakeem Olajuwon o Steve Reeves o Telly Savalas o Paul Scofield
Rod's random thoughts Virtue is hard, vice is easy - especially when it comes to art;
Somewhere in-between isn't good enough.
-from "Letters to the Painter."

Canaries do not sing love, and the truest lovers cannot always say love's name, but by their actions they speak volumes yet unpublished and as yet not written down. 
-from "Moment to Moment"

Don't give an ill-tempered man any help. Let someone else employ him.


Images compound.
You threaded traffic,
head above the walkers
on a Monday winter day -
your stride and gait
as though in purpose,
when you were only strolling
            to be strolling.
I think of you in motion, 
Never languid on a couch with bonbons
or prisoner to television
             after supper and the dishes.
The dozens of you in every hour
afraid of what you'll miss
while not revolving.

I see you running,
eyes at constant blink.
The head inside the skull
             in narrow roll.
Brain ever working,
left to right, head to front,
             no cell celibate.
A smile always,
or some other decoration
that will not leave your face reposed.
Your arms go 'round me
and even then adjust.
                      Busy fingers.
Your hands at times at needlework.
Writing letters. Sorting papers.
                            Jigsaw puzzling.
Stroking Sybel, our first cat.
And at the window box
you water in a pattern
that the plants appreciate.

In a hurry always,
to and never from .
Ever tiptoe poised atop a ladder
at the topmost bookshelf
rummaging but little through the volumes
since they are stored and catalogued
                                 in secret thought.
Your lips part not so much in conversation
                                    or the yawn
but more in silent thinking.
Perception bubbles to the surface
but every sentence is commuted
before it finds its oral frame.

I see you. Often are you here
                      in steady glide.
You float and sift through afternoons
that hurry with you.
The two of you impatient for the night.

Motorlike, without the noise.
Ferris wheel, sans calliope.
Metronome. No clicks.
You are clockwork without time.
And yet nerve endings never show.
Your gait is more the music box
that needs no eyes to be appreciated.

I watch afar at times
           and do not enter in.
But when I ride the carousel
I ride with you in sync.
Observer, I am only that -
no pressure to be up and in the circle
as you do autumn acrobatics.

You somersault in summer too.
No season and no hour favored.

Abed you take your ease alive.
Love does not pass between us
                it comes shuffling.
Arms and legs and eyes converge.
Never, never hammer-like or slithering,
above the bed we sail
                  not caught in pillow.
We do not copulate, we flow as river,
no finish line or starting gate -
              no end and not beginning.
I am a third
that sees the two of us at love
as if reporting to the city desk.
One mouth between us over there
                 how can we breathe ?
Air flows in and out of us
                 as fair as air is fair.

We are each other's wheel
and axle well aligned.

I know one is the common noun
              in lovers' conversation,
but looking on at distance
I see us onelike and no other way.

It all comes rushing to me in a rush
these decades later.
Perfect, unembellished memory.

I'd lay at rest
what I dredge up each day
            if I were able.
I am not.
I go hiking Stanyan Street
                  as if to crystal thought.
I must be seeking punishment.
There is no perfect peace or crime
while time is arbiter.

A child's balloon, bright red in color,
                       floats heavenward
until it's but a dot, then nothing.
Somewhere off beyond it's magnified,
                       becomes a globe.
So too the thought
that feeds upon itself, grows larger, rarified.

                        - from "Suspension Bridge," 1984

1973, 1976, 1984, 1999, 2000, 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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