30th & 31st October, 2004
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Rod 4/16/04 Photo by Billy Iz
A Thought for Today
I donít know about you, but for me four
years of being governed by fear is sufficient. Lets move on.
Ken generously offered to take care of todayís Flight Plan because he
knows Iím off to Austin for Saturdayís appearance. I didnít take him up
on it because he carried the lionís share of work in September; pinch
hitting for me more often than was comfortable for meĖ let alone him.
Guilt complex? You bet. I ought to wake up each morning and start the
Flight Plan so Ken wonít have to wait and wonder when and if my copy
will arrive in time for his posting. Or, the least I could do is write
and tell him early in my day that there will be no FP that day. Trouble
is I always have high hopes of being able to relax and take to my Mac at
the end of the day and write. So much for good intentions. Still having
nearly finished this FP I can bask in the fact that I was only missing
in action once during the month of October and I even got in an extra
edition of Ask Rod.
Life gets in the way of everything. Iím still learning the complex
medley of songs Iím singing on the 6th of November in The Best is Yet to
Come. Not too much time after that till I leave for New Orleans and the
opening of the second leg of The Gertrude Morgan Exhibition at their
Meanwhile Iíve got two more architects to meet with regarding the Dos
Vidas Complex and Jean arrives from San Francisco tomorrow. At least
weíll be able to have a quiet dinner before I leave. Iím making a Salmon
Mousse as a starter followed by Salmon steaks for the Main Course.
Yep, he cooks too.
Poems from Alone
Living with Darkness
I can be happy
in the dark.
I can live with it.
I can turn once,
three times around
in the dark
before my eyes become
adjusted to the blackness
and not be frightened
I can be elated
at being left alone
when the alternative
is being with just anyone.
flew through the eaves
of Villa Trenta
and came to land
upon the middle of my arm.
He crawled with sureness
down to my hand
then back along my shoulder.
He fluttered there
a moment only
then fell dead,
a victim of the heat
or something higher up.
can strike down
birds and butterflies
and then change rain
and clouds to grays and whites
of every hue,
then the ugliness
Iíve shown of late
has surely marked me
for an early death.
What troubles me
but my lack of being
troubled by it.
I am willful now
toward well-meaning friends
when I should have will instead
to fight off the oncoming end.
A black kite
flying in the distance
further down the beach
Black birds too are here
scavenging fish heads,
chasing off the killdeer
and the gull.
The sea -
not blue but double grays,
goes on about its business.
It seems calmer now,
How long will it take,
another century perhaps
till every cloud above
hangs there hidden, black.
I give it fifty years.
The stars, already dimming,
Blackness in the end
will overtake them both.
How is it
people fear the dark ?
Not me, Iím reconciled.
As every day I see
the blackness grow,
Iíve come to terms with it,
it knows I know.
Yet I wonder
if the darkness
or grows lonely
for the light
itís left behind.
The final blackness
after all is death.
Thatís what the elements
are moving to,
I doubt they have regrets.
No cards are being played
no hands dealt out
determining exactly when.
A single game
of solitaire perhaps
and when it ends
it starts again.
As I mentioned earlier Iím finishing up this Flight Plan as I make ready
to leave for my Austin Texas Book Fair reading and book signing. Looking
forward to getting back to The Lone Star State. Lots of friends there
and Eric reminded me to be sure and renew my acquaintance with my old
buddy Kinky Friedman (who bills himself as The Texas Jew Boy.) In
addition to recording and appearing with his band Kinky writes mystery
novels. We met during the seventies (somewhere) while we were both on
separate concert tours. By the way, Kinky celebrates another birthday
A friend writes: ďPS I submitted a request for an absentee ballot, still
have not gotten it. I am a Pennsylvania resident voting for
Kerry/Edwards! I come from a family of blue collar union members who
always were Democrats.Ē
Take heart! Those of you, whatever your party affiliation, can still
vote even if your absentee ballot doesnít arrive on time. This year all
fifty states have what is called ďa provisional ballot.Ē That means that
if you arrive at your polling place and your name isnít even included on
the voters register, you can still cast a ballet.
So, IF YOUR ABSENTEE BALLOT DOES NOT ARRIVE ON TIME or IF YOU ARE A NEW
VOTER AND THE INFO STILL DOESNíT APPEAR ON THE REGISTER, PLEASE TURN UP
AT YOUR DESIGNATED VOTING PLACE. NO ONE WILL BE REFUSED THE CHANCE TO
VOTE THIS YEAR.
Now for some good news. After turning your clocks back an hour on Sunday
night you can take advantage of an extra hour of sleep Monday morning.
Sleep warm and keep your fingers crossed that Iíll have time to file an
Ask Rod FP for Monday . . . from Austin.
RM 10/26/2004 6:02PM PDST
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John Adams o
Charles Atlas o
Winifred Bailey o
Ernest Flatt o
Kinky Friedman o
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Amey Palm o
Ezra Pound o
Gavin Rossdale o
Grace Slick o
All Saints Eve
Barbara Bel Geddes o
John Candy o
Michael Collins o
Dale Evans o
Lee Grant o
Diedre Hall o
Adam Horovitz o
Chiang Kai-shek o
John Keats o
Michael Landon o
Juliette Low o
Larry Mullen, Jr. o
Dermot Mulroney o
Jane Pauley o
Dan Rather o
David Ogden Stiers o
Vanilla Ice o
Jan Vermeer o
Ken Wahl o
ghosts that each of us keep hidden in our hearts are the ones we fear
False faces are the crutch and crotch of
sustenance and substance.
There are choices and choices that go
wanting. We wouldnít know of ghosts without the haunting.
A JACK-OíLANTERN OF ONEíS OWN
An October Memory for Wayne Green
||It wasnít the
hills or sledding there.
or chasing the girls down ice-clean streets Ė
stealing their mittens and paperbagged lunches
and sharing them with each other.
Not even the snowballs aimed at strangers,
then running Ďround corners to staked safe place.
Part of it maybe, not all. What it was mostly
was not knowing what it was. Not even thinking
about it till now.
Some other yesterday back in the distance,
a long-ago twilight, a long time ago. Six
of us boys lined up and boasting, seeing just
which one could piss furthest, longest.
running the risk of bursting our kidneys
till enough was stored up
to write names in the snow.
Having a short name, I won some and lost
some, I carried the day. I stumbled, I fell.
Nowís not so much different from
long time ago.
Manyís the snowman Ė neighborhood effort.
you bring the carrot, Iíll bring the coal. Hard
Guardian Angel not melting till now.
Spare tires that hung from limbs over water.
A dive when the creek had more water
than mud., A place to go off to where every
injustice, real or imagined, could be
Books, like jeans, were tossed in a corner,
left there dirty, dog-eared to grow.
Homework was building a hut in the cellar
to hide in and ride out fantasy, fiction, mind
fodder and stuffing. Planning a weekend
never a life, breaking the skin on my dick
in the darkness alone and forsaken, bleeding
to death. Hearing those footsteps above in
the kitchen, knowing that SHE must have
heard me cry out.
It wasnít the floorboards, only the foreskin
under the kitchen cracking from friction.
One-legged jumpers hopping chalked boxes
on cleaned-up sidewalks between heavy snows.
The taw a marble, a half-eaten jaw-breaker,
a rock from a pocket that fell through a hole.
Winter game, summer game, names no longer
known. Red Rover, Red Rover, wonít you
come over . . .
was that Kick-the-can or Sheep-in-my pen?
Whatever, whatever, It comes back whenever
I think of myself as a fully-grown man.
The lines Ďround my forehead and Ďround
my eye corners bunch up like creased
leather on the back of the backseat of old
Me growing older, imagine the irony.
I couldnít wait, thought it might never happen.
Was sure Iíd be cut down before the next season,
let alone grow up, grow older, grow old. A
fatalist then always seeing the dark side. Why,
looking back, is there now only light?
A child builds life around birthdays and
Holidays, what other calendar works for
Money enough every October
for only one fat golden pumpkin. An eye
for my brother to hollow, the other for me
to carve. The mouth one more problem,
always, an argument.
Shouldnít Jacks smile?/ No Jack ought to frown.
When did a smile in front of a candle bully
a trick into a treat? No matter how careful
the paring and carving, always one tooth
usually upper, snapped onto the table
dropped into a lap, bounced on the floor
and got trod underfoot.
Oh brother, my brother beginning to bawl
over spoiled jack-oí-lantern,
just part of the plan.
My baby brother cried quicker, easier
than movie star ladies in mush matinees.
Tears would well up at the smell of a
quarter. Hush money, of course, to quiet
the kid. It always did. Then off to the grocery
for jellybeans, Jujubes. Poor old Jack left on
the table. Mama would always redo his
bridgework and always inevitable smile,
not a frown. Still what is a holiday without
family ritual. Thanksgiving, Halloween Ė
each has its rules. And, anyway, Mama
was some kind of sculptor. God may
have made Adam but ever year Mama
tooled up and turned out a remake of Jack.
Rooms arenít important to kids growing up
as long as thereís nails and boards to build
A box of your own is a must. It gives the head
running room the heart its own hollow,
the body a place to bed down
It well might be worth forgoing the ransom
for pumpkins messed up, carved crooked
if every kidís Bill of Rights included a jackknife,
a taw of importance and his own scowling Jack.
- from "Folio No. 56,"