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A Thought for Today

Going it alone’s a hazard but you meet a better breed of freaks.

-from “Moment to Moment”.


I started Folio as a way of experimenting with different forms of writing. It’s not that I felt constrained by the confines of poetry but as a writer I found myself with reviews, essays, critiques, elegies, philosophical works and a good deal of other material that I didn’t feel belonged in my books of verse.

I figured that if I committed to a quarterly (more or less) publication where I had my own deadlines to meet I might be able to explore just about anything I wanted too. Oddly Folio turned out to be a proving ground and much of what I wrote did find its way into my books, sometimes rewritten, sometimes not. “Report on a Life in Progress” from Folio 1 ended up in 1975’s “Celebrations of the Heart” and “Après Vous” from the final Folio was published earlier this year in my new book “A Safe Place to Land.”

Along the way I tried my hand at Haiku, satire, sonnets and odes and there was plenty of prose. The first issue of Folio was published in spring of 1974. In 1990, 16 years and 64 issues later it ceased publication. Here are a couple of selections from Folio #7 from fall of 1975.

RM 9/24/2001 Previously unpublished

The Planting of My Life

The planting of my new life now begins. And you will be the farmer tending me till harvest. I am not starting over and this is not one more beginning, part of a cycle of starts and stops that fill and until now have filled my life since birth.

My birth date, however many years ago, was never properly recorded. And so I’ve yet to have a birthday having come into the light only on the night I fell down in your arms this year. Rising up and falling back again. And so it is the morning of my life.

Would it surprise you to discover that I’ve been waiting here in this dark room hoping you might stumble in and gather me into your hands, pick me up and hold me as you would some flowering new mushroom.

Here I am, naked like a child man open to you always. Ready to be told if I am needed by you. By life. By anyone. I thought I was and always wished to be a simple man. I took great pride in being so. But I can be plain enough for you so that you need not lift layers or prop a ladder up against some wall I’ve built or that I’m building, that hides a mystery I never should have made.

Your time should not be occupied in sorting out compartments in my head stored up with silly, not so secret, secrets. I do not mean that there should be no mysteries between us. Love is nurtured by the unknown and dies without discovery. But I want simplicity to be our password and our code for caring. Too much time is lost sorting out the real from what we pass off as reality.

To begin with, let nothing pass between us that has no element of truth. Yet if a little lie will help, let nothing be uprooted before it has a chance to grow. Confessions can come late in love and loving with no hint of hurt or harm.

This is the morning of my life with you and with myself. You drive me, you have been and will be the axis I spin on, the wheel I turn on, the tender of the wheel I turn upon. You. You. That is a better word than love for how I feel. You. It sits on my tongue. Sticks to the roof of my mouth. You. It won’t swallow when I swallow you. You bloom on me, hang on me, live within me, beat at me from the inside like a second heart. No. A first. And while it is the morning of my life because you’ve made it, I have commended, commanded, willed my life to you.

I know not where we go from here. east to Pennsylvania - the other way to California, or even if we go as we together. I cannot imagine what it would it would be like to not be with you, to go apart. Hope takes over when such thoughts pass through my mind. I am saved by what. Held and helped by need. Such a need did not exist before you bounced and bounded into sight. Surely then you’ll stay. There is no place for you to travel, but in and through the space I occupy as life. The new day doesn’t come unless you carry it here within your arm or on your shoulder. Good Morning.

A Week to Go

Daisies and some half striped tulips have gone on living in the hotel bedroom for near half a week. I’ll have new roses for you and lilacs trucked in from the country by the barrel load. Bring me cider, if you can, Chatsford honey, some magazines and books and the Pennsylvania chemistry your friend cooks up. I doubt we’ll need it, but whatever’s fair.

I cannot wait to cup your buttocks in my hands and move down through your legs to England’s heaven. To try again what has been tried and done - to walk with you through sunlit London even in the absence of the sun. To lie with you a hundred different ways and drive with you ahead through all the summer days.

I had intended to describe your mouth to you while I was looking at it, but another week of waiting is too long a time. Your mouth is velvet on the inside like the underside of violets, or the outside of your eyes. Wet it tastes like nothing half so much as your own mouth. Dry it hungers to be wet.

Your breath sometimes at night is like a mist, a thin gray fog that warms my neck when you move near. You seldom wake me though I drown in perspiration, yours and mine. Unknowingly your mouth takes me off to foreign places when my own rides against it. We are passengers on trains and sailing ships with no destination, in no hurry. Time and again one rides against the other, a tug of war of tongues so gentle that we might not be touching tongues at all.

-from Folio No.7 - Fall 1975


Today it belongs to Jane Hernandez.

I Stopped at a friends house the other day and found him stalking around with a flyswatter. When I asked if he was getting’ any flies, he answered, "Yeah, 3 males and 2 females". Curious, I inquired as to how he could tell the difference. He answered, "3 were on a beer can and 2 were on the phone".

Join Webmaster Ken tomorrow for his weekly feature “This One Does It For Me.” I’ll see you again on Thursday.

Details of Rod's next appearance can be obtained by following the link below.

"Tap Your Troubles Away" - the music of Jerry Herman

notable birthdays Tate Donovan o Michael Douglas o John Ericson o William Faulkner o Glenn Gould o Mark Hamill o Heather Locklear o Michael Madsen o Scottie Pippen o Juliet Prowse o Aldo Ray o Christopher Reeve o Phil Rizzuto o Dmitri Shostakovich o Shel Silverstein o Red Smith o Will Smith o Cheryl Tiegs o Aida Turturro o Sandy VanOrman o Robert Waldon o Barbara Walters o Kevin White o Anson Williams o Catherine Zeta-Jones
Rod's random thoughts

The sea’s as endless as the end and galleons have been known to meet themselves coming ‘round again.

-from “Caught in the Quiet.”

What a happy time to be alive and running, eating California sunshine. It didn’t fall into the sea in April after all.

-from “Twelve Years of Christmas”

I love the sea but it doesn’t make me less afraid of it.

-from “Listen to the Warm”

from “Sea Cycle”

One / With a Dutchman

With a Dutchman I went once
through Rembrandt Square
and down to Sanford, too.

I should have stayed
and lived my lifetime
        on that beach

I might have been a sailor
singing songs to myself only
or to a friend in Amsterdam
who listened out of love.

Two / I Love Therefore I am

I love,
therefore I am...

It sounds so simple
yet in loving you
I’ve fast become
little more than
        your extension,
hardly more than your left arm.

So it should be.
Still it tires me at times
to know I’m just the casing
of a window looking out beyond the world.

Be sure to give me fresh reports
of all the ships you see
and    all    the    ducks    that    waddle    beachward.

Three / Making Popcorn

Making popcorn
for the seagulls on the porch
you look up from the stove
just long enough to look away.
Some new obscurity behind your eyes
I’m not as yet at liberty to know
stays lurking there
between the popcorn and the flame.

-from “Sea Cycle,” 1968

© 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1975, 1981, 1990, 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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