Archive for March, 2014

Stepping back

Posted: March 31, 2014 in politics, Sixties

The older I become, the more I find that the subjects I’m interested in are changing. It used to be electronics, flying and computer programming. Now I lean more to music, movies and writing. It seems I’m changing my self-study major from the sciences to the liberal arts. I’m much more proficient at the natural sciences. But as I age, I find myself more and more interested in the more subjective things of life.

Shamelessly I have been reposting many stories and poems I wrote 3 or 4 years ago from a different blog. All of them have been work that I think is good and I enjoy reading them, too. It saves time to just go back to the vault every few days and just pick out something to post. Sort of like going to the closet and picking out a shirt or different pair of shoes to wear. I know it is lazy. But none of them have been posted here on WP before and I do have all new readers so it’s not like I am becoming a total retread. I just think of them, the poems and stories, as being re-mastered. Sometimes it is good to go back and review what was done years ago sometimes it’s not.

You may have noticed I have left out politics from my interests. I used to love politics, I am still interested, but I just don’t love it anymore. I do know this, in the next 2 or 3 years of elections we are in danger of drastically changing the landscape of this country. I feel if the conservatives gain control of all three branches, we will be set back 50 years of civil rights progress and un-reigned capitalism may abound. Just look at what’s happening in the individual States that are conservative controlled. You may agree with those changes, you may not, but at the national level if those kinds of changes are made we will be cast back to pre-1964, which I remember clearly. Voting and civil rights, poverty legislation, Medicare, Roe vs Wade and even teaching of evolution will all be put on the table. Issues we thought were addressed properly years ago will all be challenged again. I do not want to go back to that era. Keep your eyes and ears open. We can’t let stepping back happen.

I was in junior high and high school during those turbulent times of the 60’s. I was president of the young Democrats all through high school. Involved in local politics, but a little too young to participate in the protests and demonstrations of that time. I’m afraid I may get my chance again but at a more advanced age.



Beaded Curtains

Posted: March 27, 2014 in Sixties, war


(This is a combined account of two men I worked with in 1970. This may be disturbing to read. I know it was when they told their stories to me so many years ago. Not flash fiction but flash reality.) 

He felt tired but entirely fulfilled. Not since the last time in Saigon had he let his desires surface to that extent. The small framed women wore almost child like bodies but carried old in their eyes that revealed years of experience. Their confidence was always disturbing. Their callused hands and poor teeth told nothing of their age. Any type of sex act was available and for 3 French francs all could be performed on a man at the same time by as many women. He thought nothing of following these whores through bead draped doorways into any seedy room that they choose to work. The steaming heat, smell of cooking soy and Yan Woa perfume filled his lungs. Afterwards, a shower, Brazo soap and change of clothes was the only thing that peeled the reminder of the erotic encounter from his body and hands but not his mind.

What a hole to find himself in. How in the hell did, Gerald Watswigger, a 23-year-old Air Force Airman First find himself in such a place? No one at home would even know where or what continent he was on let alone city, even if he could tell them where he was or what he was doing.

Advisors, in the occasional 1962 U.S. newspaper that they would find, the papers called them advisors. But Wag’s crew wore civilian clothes only, no U.S currency and no I.D. could be carried. They would move from hotel to hotel one step ahead of each rumor that they heard of an impending bombing. As they moved out through the outskirts of Saigon, they could see things were heating up. Barbed wire, machine gun nests and unmarked American jeeps were becoming more common. Cratered holes and dirt clods of yellow clay gave evidence of the previous nights clash with the black pajama clad insurgents.

Then a tremendous percussion, a blast that blew him and the jeep into the air. He crashed face first into the mud, ears ringing, his eyes mostly blinded by seeping blood. Right arm twisted behind his back, he was unable to rise. Then the pain and dizzying sensation to puke. The pain, the fucking pain and realization that he had lost his boot and sock. The boot sat upright in the middle of the road and beside it, his leg. Jesus Christ! His leg!

He awoke yelling! Sweat pouring, t-shirt soaked and the sensation that his left foot was being squeezed by the tight tucked sheets. Staring down he remembered there was no foot or leg there. There had been none for almost 10 years. When would those goddamn cold sweat nightmares end? How many times would he relive this?

The sons of bitches!



Wipers Slapping Time

Posted: March 23, 2014 in Music, Sixties

wiperimagesWindshield wipers slapping time. In the sixties, when I grew up, windshield wipers sometimes did that. Most models of cars and trucks  of the age the average teenager drove was built in the ’50’s. Certainly no one had a new car. But about all of the 50’s models had what they called vacuum driven wipers. The electric wipers may have been only an option.

Wipers driven by the engine’s manifold pressure would vary in speed depending on how fast you were driving, whether you were climbing a steep grade or if you were decelerating. It depended on the load you were putting on the engine. Much of the time in city traffic the wipers didn’t move at all. A real pain in the ass but we didn’t think about it much, we just learned to use the accelerator pedal real gentle like to keep the damn things moving.

So an experienced driver with a little finesse could make the wipers do about anything he wanted.  Even the big rigs had them, the big diesels. We could even hitchhike then. Sometimes we’d thumb down one of those semis.

I think Kris Kristofferson may have done it a few times, maybe even Janis…….


Spring Break, Really

Posted: March 20, 2014 in Everyday Life

shadow05-3030-068Spring break. Every few years I take a break like this. My yearnings begin by noticing that the Sun is rising closer and closer to the east each morning. Or I realize that it is setting more squarely to the west. We humans tend to do things in straight lines and squarely you know. Our city streets and blocks are sectioned neatly east to west and north to south. Everything gets lined up neatly in a row. Our homes, our parking lots, our crops, flags, soldiers and grave stones. We like this, I think we need this order. Scatter a dozen marbles or pop cans and it won’t be long before someone will come along and line them up in a neat little row. Everything in order, everything neatly aligned, we must have it, this symmetry.

Is there any wonder why we should take notice when the Earth, our Mother Earth , aligns correctly with the Sun? Of course. Equal darkness and light, the Sun perfectly east and west, shining squarely down our streets and casting perfectly aligned shadows from our buildings, trees, and Washington Monuments, everything is in order.

This year I will look at the flocks of geese passing over head and notice their perfect V’s made from the chaos of their many gatherings. I’ll notice the first emerging dandelions and wildflowers and wonder of their perfectly aligned and symmetrical petals and realize they grow randomly through the greening grass but in their randomness they look like they belong. I’ll look for order from this chaos this year.

Order from chaos, everything from our planets, our geese, our flowers and down to our smallest molecules need to be aligned. We’ll think of this the next time we obediently and neatly fall in line to get our movie tickets or checking out at the grocery store. When we come together, we form lines. First day of Spring, our ultimate alignment event of them all. We should notice it.

Today is the change of seasons. Spring! I’m taking a couple days off just to celebrate it this year. It has been an unusual winter, this 2014. I need to take a breath and settle a bit. I am going to be as a child and just notice what’s going on around us. I need to notice the returning flocks of birds, the emerging flowers and unwinding buds. I will fill my two days with music, art and observance of the beauty of things and the wonder. I need this. I will notice.


I Saw a Girl

Posted: March 14, 2014 in Everyday Life, free verse

I saw a girl
She sat relaxed in her chair
with a cup in her hand
Tanned arms and ankles
blue jeans
ripped knee, tanned knee
short shirt, low waist,
bare goose-bumped skin
peach fuss skin
surely the texture of moonlight
blue eyes
ice blue eyes
A glance
just a look-away smile
I saw a girl


Ren Man

Posted: March 9, 2014 in free verse, poetry

Never the list of favored people
never chosen festival king
invisible to the magnanimous people
Never given the cities’ keys
Thought to be the least outgoing
not one to shake a stranger’s hand
all consumed in life’s own toils
The unknown renaissance man

Man of books of untapped knowledge
Grand ideas never sought or asked
Verses dreamed, rhymed and written
words never spoken or quietly read
He paints his image in oil on canvas
Molds his face in sculptor’s clay
Hopes some day to be remembered
And his ashes cast some day.


Of the Tides

Posted: March 6, 2014 in Everyday Life, free verse

My head turns to thoughts of the Moon
The Full, the Crescent, the New
I think of the Moon’s oblong Tide that rolls across our planet
Not stopping at the ocean’s edge but continuing across plains, mountains and Man.
Tugging on water, granite and skull as it makes its way around Earth captured paths.
Raising and lowering
Stretching and shrinking
Day in and day out
Performing a constant celestial massage on all things of this world.
Forming and changing shores, mountains and minds.
Bringing spring tides or slack waters


A Shallow Sole

Posted: March 4, 2014 in Everyday Life, free verse

How do we measure a person?
Do we use a scale and yardstick
Do we use the clothes that they wear
The cowboy hat , the cowboy boots
The hard hat and the steel toed boots
Are they a want-a-be or do they climb from their clothes
after a hard day’s work
Do they push the weak or the serious?
Do they discount what they see and just accept
How do we measure a person?
Why do we measure a person?
Do we add the length or speed of their car to their height
Does their knowledge add or subtract from their weight
Does their height or their weight subtract from their knowledge
How do we know without knowing them
Who says we want to know them
Who says we need to know them
Does it take a yardstick to measure shallow water
Does it take a lot of knowledge to measure a shallow sole.


timewasteWe are still 1 or 2 days short of a month by my count. I wish I could fully understand leap year and short February’s. But I think the earth revolves around the sun in 365.25 days. So every four years we have to put another day in our calendar. Yes it’s true, our earth takes just a little more than a year to get around the sun, our great celestial clock runs slow.

If we bought a watch that ran in the vicinity of 30 minutes a month slow we would take it and the receipt back to the discount store and ask  for a refund. But I’m not quite ready to ask for a refund. The real question is “What are we going to do with the next 365 days, 5 hours, 49 minutes and 12 seconds?”

clocksI know a few people who were born on February 29th and I listen as they bemoan their birthday plight. Each year I think the same thought… “Just be glad you weren’t born on February 30th or the 31st, you would never have a birthday”!

Have a great year, but slow down, relax, it lasts longer than you think. Today do something that takes just a little longer to do, like golf, chess or a game of Monopoly.