Rod & Rocky. Photo
by Bob Gentry © 2000 by Stanyan Music Group
A Thought for Today
Reason doesn't rest on words, words recline on reason.
Happy Monday. Here's some mail.
A TOUR, FOR SOME OLD AND NEW FRIENDS
Hello Rod, I'm writing to say thank you for all the wonderful poetry that you have written over the years.. I first heard your LP "The Sea", when I was 10 years old, then my mother bought more LPs and your poetry books,..... and I was so taken by your exquisite tenderness and understanding of love, and of the earth, and your work helped me to recognize this in myself.. even at such a young age.. It's like you have set the standard for me of how to express love, and this remains even today, although I am now in my early 40's. So thank you, dear Rod, ...with love to you and your dear ones. God bless. Dhyana.
I was cleaning out some old tapes the other day and came across a tape I had made of your three "Sea" albums with Anita Kerr. I can't tell you how much I enjoyed hearing them again after neglecting them for many years. I decided to look you up on the net and lo and behold, came across your Website! I have just spent an hour or two browsing and enjoying catching up. Thank you for the very great pleasure you have given me with your music and poetry. Finding your Website has been like finding an old friend again. Very sincerely (and may I say?),with love, Chris
Dear Rod:, My name is Kiecia, I am 31 years old. I bought one of your books at a book fair in Vegas in 1989. Stanyan Street & Other Sorrows I have probably memorized every word in your book. It was my first time to read a book and understand every emotion every feeling that you felt while writing some of those poems. my favs are For P. B ,Bengie, Child, For S. C. ,Apartment 4 E, Poem well heck the whole book. I have felt all and every emotion that is why I have loved you. IM not sure if you will get this letter but I felt just to have a chance for you to know in my lifetime that you knew how much your words have meant to me. I never tire of my book IM so glad I found this site it made my day. Nemo2
I cannot believe I happened upon this site! My old Rod McKuen books were trashed by a ceiling leak recently, and I was looking to replace them. Lo and behold I find a site with all new poetry!! I feel like I've discovered El Dorado ;0)
You are so FINE... I know your a 'married' man, and I am a blissfully married woman - But I gotta tell you, I've been in love with you since I was in High School. Your poetry opened up an entirely new and uncharted world of emotions and sensuality for me. Your writing was the bridge to my 'rite of passage'. I cannot imagine who or how I would have become without your words so artfully gracing the pages of my mind and soul.
Always know how precious your gift is and how much you are
appreciated. And if it amuses you, keep in mind that there is a 35 yr old Texas Girl that rejoices in your every poem and still fantasizes about knowing you ;) Blessings! Denise Kinamore
Dear Rod: Without taking up too much of your time telling you all those things that everyone tells you about how much you've meant to me over the years.... I would just like to ask a small question.
I have been collecting your books and I was wondering if there was a complete list of them with publishing dates etc. to help me in my search - I have been collecting casually for the past 17 years (wow, I don't feel that old)! Your help would be much appreciated. Thank you for your words, sometimes they have made all the difference. warmly, Melissa Jones
I'm a lover again after so many years. And I've found you again after so many years of being away. I wonder if the two have anything in common. I'm glad you haven't changed. After all thirty years is a long time. Thank you for being there again.
Dear Dhyana, Chris, Nemo2, Denise, Melissa & Pismo Baby Thank you so much for your nice and very thoughtful letters. Nothing makes me happier than having old friends come upon and be surprised by A Safe Place To Land.
A lot of love and hard work has gone into this Website over the past two and a half years and there is plenty of information to be gleaned by combing the different departments in it. Using the search engine at the bottom of this page you can access over 800 daily Flight Plans and the poetry, thoughts, lyrics , essays and questions and answers found in them.
For a complete listing of books and recordings there is both a bibliography and discography. Better still on the homepage you can find a link to Stanyan by Mail which will tell you
what is and is not available in the way of CD's, LP's, Books, Tapes and other merchandise.
For those who are working on class projects or papers there is also a biography which in the coming months will be expanded upon.
You can even download, for free, a complete book "Caught in the Quiet. Should you want to write me, address letters to
firstname.lastname@example.org . Letters and their answers are usually printed on Monday's, Tuesday's & Thursdays. Since there isn't time for me to answer mail via your web addresses, be sure to check back on those days to see if your letter has been printed and answered.
On Wednesday's Ken Blackie takes over this space for his much read This One Does It For Me feature. If you have something to contribute you can reach him at
Friday I try to bring a little humor on board by sharing with you some of the things that arrive in my E- box that I feel deserve a wider audience. Saturday is up for grabs, I'm never sure of what it will contain until I sit down to write it.
Sunday is reserved for "Some of the Best," it contains favorite Flight Plans requested by frequent readers.
Again, thanks to all of you for writing and welcome to A Safe To Land. Consider the above a sort of guided tour. Warmly, Rod
DREAMS DO COME TRUE
Dear Rod, I have never written an artist before but I have something you might think is interesting. In 1971 & 1972 I saw you perform in The Shubert Theatre in New Haven, Ct. (It, as you know, is the oldest theatre in America). Your performances were wonderful and memorable. In the second one I got to meet you as you sat on the edge of the stage in your white jeans, you seemed to appreciate your audience and although I have had the pleasure of seeing many performers in my life you have stayed in my mind the most. I was with the first love of my life.
No one was supposed to know but you did. In your very raspy voice you said, "you know that you love each other why don't you let everyone know, and let "them" deal with it!" WE just could not believe it!
We were separated from 1978-1986 and then I found him again and although we still can't tell the world even today, we are together and will never be apart again.
Thanks for the long-time ago advice even though it was to take two decades to even come close to being heeded. I have always admired your talents and you have stayed one of my favorite memories. See Ya' Diane Sullivan.
Dear Diane, Congratulations on finally getting together. It wasn't anything either of you said, but it was certainly apparent to me that you were in love. It was none of my business, either, but you were such a handsome couple and so seemingly troubled about it I felt a little advice wasn't out of the question. Good luck and keep being nice to each other. With Affection, Rod
TWO AGAINST THE MORNING
I would love to purchase a copy of Two Against the Morning that you did with Liesbeth List. I have found several references to this album but cannot find anyone who has it for sale. Do you know of any site where I can purchase it? I also have checked Stanyan by Mail. Another album I would like to get my hands on would be Pastoral. Both are beautiful works. Any help would be appreciated. Thank You, John Kreamer.
Dear John, I'm not sure where you could lay your hands on a copy of the LP "Two Against the Morning." It came out more than twenty years ago, and then only in Holland. The LP of "Pastoral" is available from Stanyan By Mail. Thanks for asking, Sincerely Rod
OLD ENGLISH SHEEPDOGS & THE MENAGERIE
First, thanks! Thanks for oh-so-much. Thanks for sharing your talents, for "introducing" San Francisco to me late in the 60's. Am an Atlantan, have lived in SF 3 different times, totaling 12 years. Still visit EVERY year and long to be back. Permanently.
Thanks, too, for "introducing" me to Old English Sheepdogs! Hey ... it's the same gray/white, but what's "that cat" doing in your Flight Plan? Ha! You truly inspired me, as you so kindly have others, in many ways~~but you should know that the photos (calendar/books, etc.) of the OES has been one of the most important, positive influences on my life.
Am now with my 4th dog...he's actually a Bearded Collie (if you know the breed, they look like OES, but a bit smaller and a bit less hyper). Hootie! Is a certified pet therapy dog, and we've done some really fun and great work here in Atlanta for over 4 years. Rod McKuen was the "base" for these loves of my life. My thanks to you.
AND, having just found your Website, am gonna' keep checking in. Have seen you perform in Atlanta and San Francisco over the years. Bless ya'! So, what/who makes up your stable of furry loves at the moment? Sheri Bottoms.
Dear Shari, Alas my current menagerie doesn't include any Old English Sheepdogs at the moment but I am owned by four felines. The Boys are two American short hairs (read non-pedigree) KubbyKat Too and Sunny and Rocky who is a Persian. Dinah, the lady of the house is a Himalayan (part Persian and part Siamese) loveable, yes, but highly strung and with very little of the finer attributes of either breed.
MOMENT TO MOMENT
So glad to see you on the Web. I have been a fan since the early 70's and now my 19-year-old daughter loves you too! Best wishes in all your future projects! If it wasn't for your work around the "Moment To Moment" era, I honestly don't think I'd be here now! You never knew it, but I've laughed and cried with you MANY times! Thanks Rod, your a Kindred Soul! Claudia W.
Dear Claudia, Your thoughts are much appreciated and give my love to your daughter. Nice to meet you on 'the journey.' With affection, Rod
Last week I answered a letter sent to me concerning publishing companies that ask writers to pay a fee to have their poems printed. I think you'll find the feedback from that letter and my answer to it of some interest in tomorrow's Flight Plan. See you then and, meanwhile, sleep warm.
RM 7/23/2000 Previously unpublished.
||Bella Abzug o Ruth Buzzi o Lynda Carter o Alexander H. Cohen o Alexander Dumas o Amelia Earhart o Bob Eberly o Zelda Fitzgerald o Leon Fleisher o Robert Graves o Robert Hays o Jennifer Lopez o John MacDonald o Anna Panquin o William Ruckelshaus o Doug Sanders o Peter Serkin o Pam Tillis o Gus Van Sant
||Good or bad luck is nearly always rooted in good and bad
If nothing is happening, don't complain.
My ultimate destination is myself. After that, I'll go anywhere.
||I close the windows
fire the furnace
begin to heat the bath.
The crawling things come out.
Great tangles of spiders,
small and friendly,
arrive from no place
books arranged by subject matter
and thus useless).
The forage over Compact Discs,
scale picture frames
to skate along the glass.
One climbs a clock,
another drops a silken cord
from wooden eagle's shoulder.
One more pops from half-read Dickens
a gas bill pagemark falls.
Termites carried from the woodpile
flee from kindling.
Moths flap and bat at table lamps,
do highland flings
and smack against the windowglass..
Orchid bulbs are popping open,
like time-lapse photographs.
Older blossoms move to sooner death.
A line of piss-ants
come and go along the stalks
get trapped in gooey nectar bait.
Wall spiders wait until each ant
is icy, frosty-covered, eclair-like
before they start
their choc-o-holic gorge
on the snare remains.
The heat now renders
all three cats
languid, lazy, droopy-tailed
and finally dead to morning sleep.
Bingo's on his back again, flat-out
all four paws hang in a halfway stretch
toward the ceiling.
Nikki sneezes and rolls over.
I take another crack
at ciphering a Schoenberg score.
My pencil breaks.
I fail to write another letter,
let one more deadline pass
(five hundred words on Barenboim's
six-disc survey of Mozart sonatas).
I start another lengthy list
of things undone
that once set down will be forgotten,
filed from one high stack of papers
to then be pushed along
and added to another box of stuff;
unopened invitations, calendar pages,
last year's etceteras unreturned.
Here are Christmas cards
addressed last year to special people,
set aside for special notes
that stay unwritten.
Over there two clipped obituaries
with marginal notes about condolence calls.
A too-expensive koala bear
that Helen gave me
squats high above the clutter on my desk
where I can always see it.
A reminder of hallucinogen days
not gone yet, only different.
GROVE 10, Kern to Lindelheim,
lies open on the table at Lament:
Ceremonial laments performed by men are not
unknown, but as a rule the task is entrusted to
women, most often the close relatives of the
dead person; sometimes, however, specialist
keeners are invited to mourn. They may be
regarded, in some degree, as professionals.
Generally they are women of prestige in the
village, with a known talent for keening, who
are invited to funerals to lead or augment the
lamenting. If they are paid at all, it is likely to
be in kind, rarely in money.
A five-year garden diary
that's been around for three
I plant, I weed, I harvest,
but never write about it.
I turn from musing (odd word that)
to an article on psychic cats
Wade clipped for me.
I discover a paragraph
was it up and overshoot
It lands just this side of a shiny tin
ramshead ice bucket full of day-old
Maybe I should take up drinking again.
But, no, there is no time to get it right.
When writers turn to alcohol
they must become Great Alcoholics,
or what's the point?
A bold, gray eagle head,
a Larry/Walter gift,
sits high above a bookcase
and surveys domain.
His eye looks on and over
old oak four-poster bed,
one small corner used by me.
The rest devoted to Times, Herald,
Times---a week's worth---books,
notes to no one, more CDs,
TV zapper, letters, scratch pad,
Magic's ear-mite prescription,
March Schwann, April Gramophone.
Nearby a chair
almost as old as me. The cats
have clawed it till it needs
Coffee mugs are everywhere.
A toy the cats are bored with
has found a corner to its liking,
it lies there with a fading catnip smile.
Mismatched stereo components
vie with used but unmarked videos
for the dust's attention.
On one speaker, Bulfinch Mythology
becomes a sandwich in between
a few more Compact Discs.
Near an unattended telephone
a rolodex lies wounded on its side.
Unused tickets to last weekend's
have joined orange peelings
for a still life.
They await the brush, the knife,
the shutter click
for layered immortality.
Another letter to the painter
started on graph pad
is lost but not forgotten.
A mended pair of reading glasses.
A Winston Churchill oncidium
carried from the greenhouse
needs a shave and trim
before it can be termed respectable.
Reading glasses on the nightstand
atop well-worn Thomas Aquinas.
On the mantel, reading glasses
nearly covered by unopened mail,
cruise ship itineraries,
the stuff of somebody else's dreams.
The radio is singing
'What's the use of wonderin'?
I switch it off and play Corelli
on the phonograph.
Satisfied and thankful
for the gadgets in my life
I turn it up and push the replay button.
Elizabeth is coming for the weekend.
Helen wants an outline.
Francis wants a meeting.
Charles thinks we ought to start
a poet/actor workshop.
Do I know Chuck Heston?
He knows Mickey Shaughnessy.
Edward slipped a note beneath the door,
'let's go shopping'.
When the work's all done
and every bill's been paid,
I'll exchange a deadline for a lifeline.
I'll go shopping then. Vacation then.
Spring arrives officially tomorrow.
I let the fire go out.
- from the book, "Intervals," 1986