Thursday, December 16, 2010

OK, i have an update - stop holding your breath!

Work has been tough ... ain't it always, everywhere? Lots of overtime. The new computer system is still clear as wet concrete ... the mill is "going Live" the first week of March. Oh joy.

But hey, The Giants won the World Series, so life has to at least headed in the right direction, or so the soothsayers tell me. Anyway, i celebrated the victory, remembering my grandfather who took me to a half dozen games in the 60's, when the Giants were real contenders, but alas, never won the big one.

todays poem .....


i learned long ago
never to promise the impossible.

it is december here
where roofs call to dark skies
the impracticle dream
of becoming mirrors -
if only for a moment,
to be saint-like,
to glisten
& show the skies
their beauty in dark reflections.

i learned long ago
never to dance in the dark gardens
of prosperity
& expect them to be there tomorrow.

it is december here.
the cafes are all full]of cheap holiday banners
& waiters that could be photographs
serving stale biscuits
to patrons drunk on christmas swill.
i walk the wet pavement
as if a dog
seeking shelter.

i learned long ago
never to believe in ghosts.

it is december here
& i stare into the wet skies
as if a telescope
peering into the great beyond -
wondering what it would take
for our lonely hearts
to be together again -
if only for a night.

i learned long ago
never to expect the impossible.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

one giant step backwards

first classes on the new computer system are behind us. Talk about a step into the past ... the thing was created when DOS ruled and only has been updated on an irregular basis. No mouse, no icons. it's all "F" keys, tab and arrow around the different screens.... oh, it's certainly not going to help speed things in shipping up anywhere. I am certain the usage on the paper machine (which is much less than in shipping) is going to be loads of fun as well. 3 more classes (4 hours each) before we go "live" with the beast.

Cooler the past few days. Summer seems to have wound down. Fall is coming, but not here yet. i expect at least another blast or two of Summer trying to survive. The rains of the past few days are gone. Just clouds. Need to get on the roof and Moss-B-Ware it for the winter. But starting night shift tonight, so it'll have to wait for a week or so, at least.

today's poem is from 12:97. Written for a friend in Singapore, when we still had occasional letters exchanged.

-for siti

as god pouts - rain.
rain. rain.
mascara runs down
your cheeks, some would
mistake as tears.

my voice is a stutter,
as the wind
through awkward fingers
of old & deformed trees.

carve your dreams
in the bark, if you will.
the wind will exchange them.
somehow i will know -
even across oceans, continents.

as god farts - thunder.
thunder. thunder.
the uncertainty of your laughter
is an unreturned echo.
but i have heard
& attempted to give the voice sanctuary.

roll my bones
against the fates.
there are no odds
when dreams are involved.
eternity is a concept worth violation
in the vernacular of dreamers.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Mt. St. Helens visit

Vacation ended far too soon, But did get up to see Mt. St. Helens. Quite Impressive. 30 years after the eruption, you can still see signs of the devastation. Got to get within 5 miles of the mountain, windy as hell, but steam still rising out of the hole in the north side of the mountain. Quite a long day, but well worth it.
back to work now. Changes coming, none of which are good. crew changes, computer program changes, different way to tally and load trailers and railcars. Oh swell!!!!

todays poem was written in 12:93, published in the wonderful Inevitibality Press in July 1995, an on-line magazine created and run by Roger Evers. Inevitabilty Press is no longer active, as Roger has taken his magnificent creative efforts into DVD creations and plays (in the Theatre of the Absurd mold, my favorite form!!) in the past couple of years. Oh yes, Bless The Void, Brother!


the policeman asked if i had a match. i shook my head no. his eyes studied me as if i were charles manson reincarnate, but said nothing as i walked away. deliverance was not salvation. rain spotted my glasses & my ulcer spoke in short but terse sentences.

two hookers on the street corner - watching their reflection in shop windows- make eyes at manikins. they ignore me as i limp by, the ghost of discarded dreams, hardly a vision worth attainment.

in the mail, the editor of onthebus writes i am a blasphemy, a degredation. i look at my hands, gnarled & red from a frozen wind offering no wisdom. i see his point. unfortunately, i find no razors, no poisons. i am forced to live another tortured day. i find a stamp, a soiled envelop & write a few curses to tell him so.

Friday, August 6, 2010

a death in the family

today's poem is from 12:97

been sort of busy. a death in the family. my sister in law died of a heart attack late last month. always hard to deal with stuff like that. RIP is the best i can think of at the moment.

hot summer continues. less hot than a lot of the country i guess, but still, i prefer the cool fall and rains.

other than that - the usual chaos and uncertainty of work. but at least it's still work. loads of changes (and overtime) in the next few months. Oh joy. At least, the end of the month brings me a vacation. Still working on plans for that. :-)


a myriad of unfinished dreams:
she was Aphrodite
tempting me,
telling me she was ordinary,
not worthy worship, in her eyes
i could see epics waiting to unfold:
i could see the moons of Jupiter
waiting for her descendants to populate.

& she telling me
she was just ordinary, not even

my hecatombs burn still
in the dark hills above her father's castle.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

for a bungundry dress

work has been unpleasant to say the least. lots of heavy weight export, lots of changes (more on the way), and well, summertime is coming and it's warming up on the mobile equipment i drive. Guess that's all part of "work", eh?

another poem from  11:97. about a woman i met at my first poetry reading .... where i was one of the last "unfeatured" poets to read.


we speak of dreams
as if jockeys
on beautiful nags,
not a chance of winning.

we speak of the odds
& handicaps,
as if wagers alone
could make a difference.

perhaps there are reasons enough for god
or deliverance ...

the rain through your thin fingers,
the utopia of your chocolate eyes:
all further than i can ever reach,
but somehow the dreaming
makes the running of circles
a bit more worthwhile.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

one for the concrete days of summer approaching

Spring looks to be nearly over. The warm days are turning warmer and the cool nights at bit warm ....

work continues. lots of changes in the shipping dept. and more changes on the way. Oh joy. Also looks like overtime is coming my way in the near future. can't say i'm looking forward to any of it, really.

today's (this month's?) poem is another one from 11:97.


rumor has it, the new neighbor is a rubber tycoon,
as in retreads. i was surprised -
believing him a cement-man myself. not exactly
Midas, but everything he touch ...

his backyard a pad of expanding concrete,
except for the patch of grass
that next spring would become a swimming pool.

surely not a lover of trees.
i believed him a frustrated Paul Bunyan. the neighbors
call him Chain-Saw Dave. First week,
even before the furniture was in place, he cut down
the trees in his back-yard, covering
the roots with concrete. "damn them
falling leaves" he was reported to have laughed.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

thanks to Russ Bradshaw

first of all, thanks to Russ Bradshaw of Five Leaves Publication in the UK for including my poem "Fighting Foam" in his anthology of night shift poems. The Night Shift is available from Five Leaves Publication (at that site - click on the poetry link on the left). (the poem "Fighting Foam" is in the archives on this site - link is on the right. i uploaded it June 18, 2007, so you'd only need to click on the 2007, June link to find it). you know the mantra by now - support small and local presses if at all possible.

other than that - the union and company have agreed to talk one more time, in June, about altering the contract. There really is very little to hope for these discussions to amount to anything unless 1) the company decides to offer more for the requested take-aways or 2) the union officials in Portland (the local members have no voice in these matters) decide it's worth their while in the long term to allow the local to vote on the take-aways. Anyway, the door that seemed to be closed has a slight opening at the moment.

Spring rains and a week of vacation ..... just doing some things around the house and enjoying not being part of the rat race for a bit.

today's poem is from 11:97.


no prayers will give these bones
sanctification. my songs are to something
other than a plaster-of-paris god. the rain
will rust more than gears or drive-lines
in these mountains. old junkers in the back-yard
are symbolic of nothing, if they are not symbolic
of desperation.

fallen trees rot in the ever fog.
in these hills are real men
who cover the slopes with the entrails of deer
& bear & cougars. they are the back-bone
of America, with inalienable rights.

i cannot save America from itself.
the cold in my bones has a source
other than the wind. the last hero
i worshipped was my father, dying
in a hospital bed, reminding me to be certain
to get the oil changed in the Oldsmobile
before winter set-in.

there is no truth (flap of hawk,
caw of crow) if you do not create it
for yourself. old man at the bus stop
dressed in the rags of someone's garage-sale
asked if i'd ever seen a more perfect sunrise.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

after the phishers

after a bout (still ongoing) of massive spam/phishing attacks to my email account, i am back to update this blog. i can't help but think someone used a bot to glean the email address i had posted to reach out to missed contacts after my other computer died. i removed the address and i guess if anyone wants to contact me, they will have to leave their email address (or a link to somewhere i can email them) in the comments section, which is not a real good option, as i do not have comment monitoring on. If necessary i can change that easily enough. let me know if that's something that should be done anyway .... Thus far, i've never removed or changed anything written in the comments, even the negative or spam comments.

On the work front - the union refused to talk to the company about a concession only package, and told IP, if they had nothing to offer in the way of compensation, the union had nothing to discuss until the contract runs out in three years .... so, the game continues, and the workers, who have expressed a desire to at least be able to vote on these consession demands, are left out again of any decision making. We'll have to see what the result of this decision will be, most likely next fall, when the market traditionally slows.

Back to night shift - so i guess i'll see if anything dramatic or interesting has happened during the vacation i just ended. Spring is appearing, and the new tree in the front yard is taking root and sprouting some leaves. Now if the lawn reseeding would just start to take affect . ..... :-)

see ya'all down the line sometime or another.

today's poem is from12:93, when i was doing a LOT of reading and writing, something i haven't done either of since i quit writing in 2003 or so ....


i learned long ago
never to promise the impossible.

it is december here
where roofs call to dark skies
the impossible dream
of becoming mirrors -
if only for a moment,
to be saint-like,
to glisten
& show the skies
their beauty in dark reflections.

i learned long ago
never to dance in the dark gardens
of prosperity
& expect them to be there tomorrow.

it is december here.
the cafes are all full of cheap holiday banners
& waiters that could be photographs
serving stale biscuits
to patrons drunk on christmas swill.
i walk the wet pavement
as if a dog
seeking shelter.

i learned long ago
never to disbelieve ghosts.

it is december here
& i stare into the wet skies
as if a telescope
peering into the great beyond -
wondering what it would take
for our lonely hearts
to be together again -
if only for a night.

i learned long ago
never to expect the impossible.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

crash, burn and aliens got my email contacts

a small edit to this post. my email address has been removed from this post due to a horrendous amount of spam i'm suddenly getting ..... plus the fact no one i missed in my original emails contacted me, it seems unnecessary to have it posted.

Well, despite being lazy, overworked and having a computer melt-down, there's really no excuse for the lack of updates lately.

OK - work? The new company (International Paper) wants to reopen the contract for a variety of "bad economy" reasons. The local union was willing to at least talk and see what they want to take away and what they have to offer in return (if anything). But the union officials from headquarters in Portland refuse to discuss anything about opening the contract without major concessions from the company up front. There is one last meeting on Feb. 19th, to see if there is anything to merit further discussions. If not, the whole future of the mill COULD be in question. In light of how fast and completely they shut down our sister mill in Albany in Dec. things could be dire in the near future. Let's just say the stress has taken its toll and poetry updates haven't been on the top of the to-do list.

Another reason for no updates is my computer has been on the fritz. Then Saturday, the computer would not turn on, just power up the fans. i tinkered with it for half a day, and finally gave up and took it to the Geek Squad at Best Buy, who informed me the CPU (motherboard) was dead. The Hard Drive was not ruined and i had it installed in the new computer i ended up buying. The net result was two days of trying to get old data off the old hard drive onto the new computer, and getting essential programs up and running. Well, i was completely burnt out and did a major OOOPPPPSSSS. Somehow (not certain how exactly) i deleted all my emails and contacts off the old hard drive. The only saving grace was i had done a back up on an external Hard Drive in November, so everything was not lost, just the recent stuff. Thus, somewhere in cyber space, aliens are now laughing and delighting in piles of my lost emails!!

So, i am back - sort of. i tried to send emails to the contacts i did have. If i missed you, write to me at any address of mine you have. it should (maybe) get to me. so i can add you to my contacts.

here is another poem published in a small press magazine - this time Mushroom Dreams, published in Dec. 97. i've said it a hundred times, but if you can, please support small and local presses/artists.


i watch whores beneath a street lamp
cigarette smoke dancing in the twisted light
as i count loose change

there is no magic in hearts unable to dream

i converse with empty sheets
the rhetoric as imperfect
as the fantasies

Saturday, January 9, 2010

2010 begins, at least with one entry

Rain, cold fog - ah, indeed ‘tis winter in Oregon!

Back on night-shift this week. A new boss that we briefly met last week takes control of the shipping department. All we really know about her is: she was in the same position in the Albany mill before it was shut-down last month and she was liked (at least by the one person who worked in her department three years ago). Lots of changes in the works, coming down from the Memphis gods who love the fact our shipping department is the most efficient in their system, but they want us to change and be like everyone else …. Whatever that entails, I guess we’ll find out between now and March, when the magic transformation is supposed to take place. I keep telling myself, no more than 6 and a half years, and I can retire ….. :-(

oh, before i forget - thanks to everyone who's left comments. i really like hearing what you are up to/think/ feel about the poems and this blog in general. And if you can, the ever constant mantra - help support small presses in your area.

Today we have a poem- from a discarded manuscript - it may have been included in a couple of versions of Humbly I Offer These Awkward Poems, but i don't recall if it was in the last incarnation, which was accepted for publication by Cedar Hills Press, but never actually made it to publication before the press folded. I hear rumors it (or at least the editor) is again active, but I’ve lost contact with him and have no real interest in re-establishing any contact. The poem is originally from 12:93.


you call me to visit
glass & steel surrounded by fog
before a great lake that has only
imaginary boundaries. i beg off
citing diminished pay checks
& no spare time, captured by
the web of insecurity.

you call me to visit
a near palace in the sky
you humbly call home.
iron doors & lavender doormen
wearing impervious smiles.
the wind cuts mountains here but reflects perfectly
off mountain lakes. i beg off
citing failed western economics
& the curse of the spotted owl, imprisoned
in a cell of self doubt.

you call me to visit
irish linen & german crystal,
the reflected light of a million solar years
off an optically perfect window -
the lake where gulls dance
in a hazy breeze. i beg off
citing old age & lungs
that are less than ideal.

in my mountains, the world rots:
beetles & gypsy moths fly the same
alpine zephyrs as spotted owls.
storms sneak in from the Aleutians
& trees bow down in worship -
streams will churn black long before
they ever become crystalline again.
it is here i am chained -
each link a dream torn asunder.
it is here i am dying -
a cold rain falling in a forest no one visits.

you call me to visit.
at&t fibre optics, sterling sound,
lush & vibrant goddess voice - the wind
across pink lips. no greek isles.
no hot sweaty afrikan coastlines. just
a jazz band in the hotel lobby
& a blind singer of urban blues
across the street. i beg off
citing your beauty, my obesity,
knowing i should never stain such elegance
with the curse i have become.