These hands

These hands, today,

Are not mine, surely.

They make the motions,

So demurely.

Minding their own purpose, purely.

Bent on insurrection.

Brush my teeth with shaving cream.

Comb my hair with Vaseline.

Perhaps it all is just a dream,

But in the wrong direction.

Coffee mug all prepped and ready.

Loopy legs are still unsteady.

Grind the beans, they smell so heady.

The nose detects perfection.

Pouring water, I’m betrayed.

The rebel digits, they have played

Another trick, and I’m afraid

Of mutinous defection.

The coffee beans, they’ve put into

My oatmeal dish, to make a stew.

There is no other point of view!

This surely needs correction.

In a fix, in a pickle, in a stew

Captain Miller and his boys

Heard the lookout cry ahoy!

As they ran aground upon the bar of sand

And their hardy ship was broken

And their gunpowder was soakin’

And the situation soon got out of hand

When the storm had cast the crew upon this land

”Twas just a little island

But he warned them all Be silent

He was wary for the safety of his crew

So they brought what they could carry

And he told them not to tarry

And bring those guns and ammunition too

Or we’ll wind up in a pickle and a stew

Now, the natives, they were tribal

And they’d never seen the Bible

And they cared not but a fig for being kind

And they smelled the blood of others

Who were surely not their brothers

And they crept upon the crewmen from behind

With culinary motives on their mind

So they had them all surrounded

And upon their prey they bounded

They were silent, and they blended with the night

And the sailors were defeated,

Of their guns and ammo cheated,

And they couldn’t even offer up a fight

They were dragged away, before the morning light

Now, the tribal men were hungry

All they had was fruit and sundry

And the puny fish they caught within their net

And the coals, they were a-raking

Getting ready for the baking

Of the biggest catch they’d captured, as of yet

And the sailors, they were humbled with regret

Now the Chief, he started dreaming

Of the roasting and the steaming

And the savory delights they would enjoy

And the slaughter would be gruesome

And the barbeque so toothsome

A rotisserie of spits they would employ

And the sailors’ sorry ship they would destroy

Now, the Captain, he was cunning

And his mind had started running

To a way they might this tragedy undo

How to rescue all his crewmen

From these natives so inhuman

And find their guns and ammunition too

And free them from this Pickle, and this Stew.

Number 16- Shoulders in the sea

On the promontory, in the day,
Alone, I look in idleness.
Gulls, yes.
They circle, yes.
Their cries, a tapestry of the familiar.
But, on this day, they swarm.  So many.
And, now, their crude symphony quiets swiftly
into a windblown silence.
Disturbed I am, in my ennui.
A smoky greyness filters all reflection.
The birds, in this cool contrast,
have the aspect and the purpose of carrion seekers.

I see, in this charcoal sea,
lapped over by choppy waves,
what surely are the twin backs
of some marine enormity,
not of this place.
The buzzards, still in silence,
circle ever more tightly,
but will not land.
The marine things do not move.

From the gloom,
I spy the coming storm,
one of immediacy.
The carrion birds disperse, leaving the scene.
For a moment, losing my vision, I cower.
Then I see, in the charcoal sea,
not two beasts, but
the shoulders of a drowned giant
bared by the boiling billows.
As I hold fast to my rock,
the tempest ferocious turns her over,
and the dead face floats,
entangled in the green hair of the sea.

I am overcome.

What did he just (Tecum)say?

Truer words…..from The Dread Poets Sobriety

Dread Poets Sobriety

I wanted first to touch on the fact that I’ve been making jokes for years about how in 1814 Canadians (really Mother England at this point) burned down the White House and most of the rest of Washington. Sorry aboot that… You’re probably however, good moving forward. It seems doubtful that zombie Tecumseh will be returning from the grave for a rematch. Just in case anyone was in need of reassurance…

I don’t really want to talk about economics today other than to say the benefits of free trade and in particular, the efficiencies achieved through specialization were made quite clear to me in an eleventh grade text-book. It is not complicated theory. Protectionist policies almost always achieve the inverse of their intentions. Unintended consequences. Fuck Keynes, that is the REAL “classical economics”.

Of course all of that said everyone knows the only way to get rid of a bully…

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Fear and loathing

This is something that cuts to my very quick, and makes me feel shame.

Today, I was sitting in my car with the windows down, waiting for my wife to get off work.  I was distracted from my phone by some loud and raucous noises.  My first thought was that it was a bunch of young ruffians fooling around, perhaps calling each other names and shoving about.

I looked around, and saw that it was an older woman, in her 60s or 70s, being led across the parking lot by a young woman.  The older lady was shouting loud expletives, making animal noises,  crying in a singsong manner (as sometimes children do), and attempting to pull away from her chaperone.

I was in awe of the young woman’s manner, which was kind and patient.

A few of the people in the vicinity stopped what they were doing and stared, some making remarks behind upraised hands.

I think that my greatest fear in life has been to lose my faculties.  I do not know why this is.  Maybe because I have seen it in others, some close to me, and reacted poorly.

I only hope that, if this is in the cards for me, that I have an angel like the one I saw today to show me kindness and understanding.


The Rolling Stones and Robert Frost

I feel like a privileged person, as I think back on this story.  Also, there is an urge to brag a little, not about any personal worth or accomplishment, but about some of the things I have seen and loved in my lifetime, music-wise.

In the late 60’s and early 70’s, my little circle of friends (along with millions of others, I suppose) were on the rock concert trail.  I went to my first one in 1965, I think.
It was The Beatles.  We got our advance tickets at some little cigar store agency.  They were $8.00 each.  Mom thought that was a lot of money to spend on foolishness, and didn’t want to fork it over.  So, my brother and I started being uncharacteristically helpful around the house, and went out collecting pop bottles etc. so we could at least make a show of earning it.

We went.  Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto.  You could not hear a damn thing because of the screaming.  But, we had our binoculars, and there they were, on that stage.  Yep, that was really them.  It was an event, not a concert.

They came back for a second show, about a year or two later.  At that time, my big brother was working at the airport in Malton, where they landed.  He had a little advance notice of their coming, but paid not much attention, thinking it was just a teeny bopper fad.  He happened to be spray painting some fuel tanks outdoors when their motorcade passed by.  He remembers being covered with silver paint and wearing something that looked like a gas mask, and he swears that the line of black limos stopped for a second while a long haired figure leaned out of a car window and snapped his picture.

We went to this concert as well, and, now that brother Bob had seen all of the hubbub and the police presence, he realized that something big was going on.  When it came time for the Beatles to board their plane,  he took us to his work, where we had a bird’s eye view of their departure.

Some of the other bands we were lucky enough to see, back in their heyday, were
Led Zeppelin, The Who, The James Gang, Alice Cooper, Procol Harum, Humble Pie,
Edgar Winter, and last, but certainly not least, The Rolling Stones.

It happened that when the Stones came to town, you had to get your tickets directly from the box office at Maple Leaf Gardens in downtown Toronto.  The custom that evolved could only be described as a bed-in.  We, with thousands of others, camped out overnight on Carlton Street to hold our place in line to get these precious commodities.  We had loads of fun.  There were some questionable substances being passed around, but the police turned a blind eye as long as we were peaceful, and we were certainly that.  I was something of a loner in those days, and was just after my single ticket so I could go with my brother and friends.  We got them, probably after about 14 hours in line.  The show was to take place about a month from that time.

After I got home with the ticket, I thought where should I put this for safekeeping?
I will tease a little here, and tell you at the end.
What transpired, of course, on the day before the Stones were going to play, was that I could not remember where I had put the damn thing.  Panic attack.  I turned the house upside down, and even enlisted Mom’s help in searching the place.  No dice.  We even called the city to try and track down the garbage truck.  Sorry, Lee.  Out of luck.
So, I phoned a friend who had been with us in the camp out, and told him I wouldn’t be coming, and why.  He said “Well, you’re in luck, because my girlfriend can’t go now.  I’ll sell you mine”.  Long story short, he made a 100% markup.  We went, and it was more than what we had hoped for.

Several years later, as friends fell away and my life had changed with marriage, I was at home relaxing with a cup of tea, the wife being occupied at work.  I decided to look through some old books on my shelf, and pulled out the collected poems of Robert Frost.  Do you know what I found tucked between the pages?

Of course you do.  Probably the world’s only intact Rolling Stones ticket.