Dec 27, 2014

Not Swann's Way, But My Way

Not Swann's Way, But My Way

Christmas eve, and I received a call from a friend whom I haven't seen for a very long time, and this, following a late summer call from my other friend, who dates from even further back in time - the early sixties - put me in a rather nostalgic mood, reverential of the remembrance of times, places, and events unfathomably past, all the things that indeed do, 'go bump in the night', and set the subconscious mind on journeys unimaginable during hours spent awake. I look forward to dreams, for they inevitably look backwards for their substance, to earlier times, to lichen encrusted years that still seem, even on introspection under the acid light of dawn, more benevolent, exciting and enjoyable, even if proved on scientific analysis, to be impossible. As we grow older, those of us who still retain real feelings, and the capacity for independent thought, are likely to be " A la recherché du temps perdu" 

The present landscape makes even that of 'Godot' seem bleak.

So, with a library of close to (perhaps over) 10,000 books, most of which I recognize on sight (more than I can say for people) I thought there must be a few among them that I might consider seminal in the evolution of the person I have become, for better, or for worse, as it is often said.

Two (perhaps more) of the dozen or so (or is that two dozen or so? Four score and ten?) writers I most admired during the 50's and 60's are still alive [Ferlinghetti and Snyder]. [I hope they have discovered how to cheat death, for after their inevitable departure, what is left? [Here I have conjured up stark images from Bergman's "The Seventh Seal" - a movie to disturb the tender psyche if anything will, but set them on edge for the rest of their brief lives. Ah, but I digress.

So, here are a very few of the books that during my early teens exerted a profound influence on the malleable me:

Goes without saying

I really liked Kerouac

Still a favorite

Carried in my pack, up and down the Pacific Coast, in the late fifties

As a twenty mile a day explorer of the less trodden peaks and canyons of the Sierra Nevada, this was kindling on the fire.

So, this is the real culprit, the book that (from those looking in) ruined my life. For those (me) looking out, caused it to explode into a kaleidoscopic fantasy.
And the others…………not enough bytes in the universe to list.

Oct 25, 2014

The Powder-Blue Hollyhock, addendum

The Powder-Blue Hollyhock, addendum

Oops, seems I might have hit the "publish" key a little prematurely on my last post and neglected to explain the origin of the powder-blue Hollyhock. As can be imagined curiosity finally outweighed my lethargy and as the scales were against me I managed to get to my feet and walk toward the flashing blue bloom. It only took a few steps to dash all hope of any reward or national recognition, the wonderful blue Hollyhock was nothing more than a painted post supporting a lean-to roof on the side of the barn. Viewed through the wind-stirred leaves and stems of a dozen or more Hollyhocks the bloom-sized flashes of colour looked remarkably like Hollyhock blooms. So, with the realization that riches and fame were not to be mine, this time, I strapped on my secateurs and returned to the fray.

Oct 24, 2014

The Powder-Blue Hollyhock

How I discovered the nonexistence

of the Powder-Blue Hollyhock

Two days ago, after several sweaty hours of weeding, digging, dead-heading, pruning, planting, seed collecting, and re-potting a variety of common and 'rare in cultivation' plants I decided to take a short break, and it was while sitting, drained of energy and draining a double Gin and Tonic, that I caught a glimpse of the ephemeral powder-blue Hollyhock. I was transfixed. I stared, spellbound, and tried to separate what logic said was very unlikely, if not impossible, to what my very real two eyes (well four, if you count my glasses) perceived. I was transfixed, but I already told you that, and the amazement continued. I blinked, took off my glasses and examined the lenses. Scratched, but not likely to produce aberrations such as the red shift discovered, or first noticed by Hippolyte Fizeau. I averted my gaze. Still, a robin-egg-blue Hollyhock was blooming only thirty or forty feet away. I imagined my future assured, once the plant was patented and propagated. Then I began to worry about selecting an appropriate name. 'Heartbreak Blue' - never. 'Cock-Robbin Blue' - too many opportunities for misinterpretation. 'Sky Blue' - too blasé. 'Electric Blue' - not true, 'Blue's Blue", close, but then, an epiphany occurred, It would be 'Kind of Blue', in homage to one of my favorite jazz legends, Miles Davis.

First I had to confirm the plant really existed before I could retire to my terra-cotta/sandstone cabin in Sedona, or my imitation old-world chalet in the Napa valley - but, what could be easier, there was the plant, only a few steps away.

Needless to say I am still here, on the edge of the ephemeral dry lake, wondering about Whinkla, and coaxing Lewisias, Ipheion and Androsace to bloom where none has bloomed before. And tomorrow? Today a shipment of assorted bulbous plants arrived and the winter season seems very close.

Aug 12, 2014

Does Anybody Want A Drink Before the Storm?

Does Anybody Want A Drink Before the Storm?

Just had one of those unpredictable summer thunderstorms pass by, and this one even impressed me. One and three quarters of an inch of rain in thirty minutes. Had to run out and clear debris from the drainage swale on the east side of the house as water was beginning to back up in a menacing manner. Soaked to the core, if I have a core, in just seconds. I have been in thunderstorms in Illinois, Missouri, Hawaii and Tampico, Mexico and this one was their equal in intensity, if not duration.

I was graphically reminded once again as to which windows leak, and made the empty promise (again) to fix the problems once the rain stops. It is now raining lightly and after a short tour of the south and east gardens I have no desire to venture further west nor north. Unless the bamboo groves recover I will have many new canes to cure and store - had to stoop to navigate the pathways - and as many of our garden paths are topped with cedar chips there will be a few hours of 'chip retrieval' taking place in the next few days. Most wood floats of course and chips the shape of spinnakers sail merrily away without much encouragement. Several pathways have a 1-2 foot bare undulating ribbon of eroded soil down the center, which, when followed to where the water was finally allowed to dissipate its energy, ends in a swampy lagoon of wood chips and silt - all of which will have to be wheelbarrowed back uphill. Why do I see myself as Sisyphus?

So, I've opened a bottle of Pinot Grigio, and taking a cushion and a fluffy towel to dry off a seat somewhere I'm out into the dampness to sit, contemplate, and make the long list of things we need to do tomorrow. Wonder how the flats of Lewisia liked the drowning?

Aug 1, 2014

Where are the lunch counters?

Where are the Lunch Counters?

[and I don't mean those individuals recording quantifiable statistics of a given population.]

Growing up, or coming of age, in the 1950s continues to provide me with more pleasant memories than I can process. Tonight, despite the heat and humidity, we are having 'Hot Roast Beef Sandwiches' with mashed potatoes and gravy. What brought this on? Well, our potatoes are beginning to sprout and the small roast I barbecued two weeks ago is probably past its 'eat by' date by several days (if you accept such an idea). It looks and smells perfectly OK, which is the way I determine if a food product is edible. What is all this malarky with the best by date? I was going to have stir-fried vegetables from the garden with rice and tofu, but that will have to wait until tomorrow. But, thinking about dinner made me wonder if there are any department, five and dime stores that still have a lunch counter. The kind where you can get a fried pork chop dinner, or liver and onions, a grilled cheese, or hot roast beef sandwich, an egg salad sandwich, french fries, a slice of apple or cherry pie [ice cream optional] and a malted milk made right before your eyes, or a banana split. Without effort I recall those innocent, trouble-free, happy times. Mom, Dad, and we three kids sitting at the lunch counter at Woolworths or Newberry's waiting for Norman Rockwell to stop by. Norman Rockwell knew where the heart and soul of America was to be found and thankfully captured much of it. To me, as a struggling adolescent, eating at the lunch counter was always a special occasion. I think, sitting there, not in direct eye contact with any other member of the family, made me seem somehow 'grown up'. Today, I can't think of a place local, or even in Portland, Oregon, where such an experience can be had, and more's the pity, more's the pity.

Jul 7, 2014

We Don't Need No Stink'n Architects

Architect? We Don't Need no Stink'n Architects

I don't see how Ludwig Mies van der Rome, Le Corbusier, Frank Lloyd Wright, Frank Gehry, Ieoh Ming Peri, Zaha Hadid, or even Gaudi could improve on the design and execution of this structure.

I was out to plant a flat of Edraianthus serbicus and a few Lewisia pygmaea when I found this bird nest cradled in the branches of some potted Japanese maples. Just another nest I thought, brought down by the recent wind. And yes, it probably is just another ordinary nest designed and constructed by ordinary birds in their ordinary way, but, I was amazed at the complexity and refinement entailed in this nest. I would love to see a time-lapse recording of the bird(s) weaving together the hundreds and hundreds of strands of grass and twigs and twine into such a symmetrical construction, a physical symphony. This nest is oval, most I find are circular. But more amazing to me is that after constructing the nest they lined the interior with mud, and it is as smooth and finished and blemish-free as any mud-slinging interior decorator could wish. The only thing missing is a mural by the bird equivalent of Diego Rivera, or a couple of framed insects pinned to the wall to give it that 'homey' touch.

And, just to finish the job they covered the bottom of the nest with a pillow of soft vegetation.

I stand in awe, again, of all that the natural world was, is, and will continue to be.

We do not need, and never have needed, most of the things we are led to believe we do.

Jun 16, 2014

Too much of a good thing

Garden tasks tend to catch up and then overtake you. I had noticed one of the Darlow's Enigma roses needed a serious trim on the east side as everyday it crept a little closer to the ground, but it wasn't until it had smothered a row of red onion and Buttercrunch lettuce that I knew we had to take action. It would, of course, been much better for all of us if I had taken action two or three weeks ago, but time and priorities are what they are. Yesterday we tackled the job and I have to admit that the end result was not as distasteful as I imagined. In a week or two the east side will most likely be smothered in new blooms.

Looks like I could loose a few pounds.

Jun 12, 2014

Days of Wine and Roses

Days of Wine and Roses

A typical day: Watered the potted plants and flats as needed, with a special eye on the many dozen rhododendrons growing from seed - hope I live to see some of them bloom, but, as I plant a dozen or so different rhododendron crosses each year, producing hundreds of seedlings, it stands to reason I will expire with a great many plants still un-bloomed. And who will carry on, or care, after I've returned to the soil?

On to building a trellis on a trellis.

Years ago I planted a wisteria cutting taken from a garden in Parkdale and for several years it produced a mass of tendrils and many feet of hefty stem, but no bloom. I literally cut off yards of growth every year (still do) just to keep it within the county. Then two, or is that three? years ago there were two or three small flower panicles - I was ecstatic. Last year the blooms were simply magnificent, not quite up to specimens in Sierra Madre, or Claremont, California, but impressive never-the-less. I immediately envisioned a bistro table and two to four chairs basking in the scented shade, a bottle of fine wine and a wheel of brie and fresh-baked bread waiting for company. Last spring I removed the one rotten post supporting the monster and let it's substantial branches(?) fall gracefully onto the lawn, where they lay, contentedly or not, for over a year. It bloomed this spring, but in its prostrate position the blooms were difficult to appreciate. I rebuilt the arbor. It will now support a ton or two and last longer than I care to consider, but, I had to hack the wisteria into submission for it to appreciate my effort. So, as I raise many Clematis from seed, and Clematis serratifolia seems to be a very vigorous plant I added a trellis to the wisteria structure (until the Wisteria can recover its whits). I used two ends of an old crib that had been tossed in the 'free' pile at a local thrift shop due to government regulations. What, no pictures! OK, it's almost dark but I'll dash outside and see if I can take a photo.

Windy last night, and all day, so spent time tying up tomato plants. Then on to prune the rose allée, and three rose arbors. Dead heading as I go and collecting seed.

Back to Rhododendrons: I have set aside a small area as a 'test garden' for rhododendron seedlings and am gradually planting out the potted plants. It is not an ideal location - too much afternoon sun - but you do what you can with what you have. For years I have taken our bountiful supply of Ponderosa Pine needles and piled them in a heretofore unused area of the garden to rot. Now is the time to mine that decomposed treasure. It is better than gold, even turquoise from the Blue Bird Mine.

Then to the transplanting: Corydalis Kiautschouensis, Campanula ramosissima, and Lewisia rediviva tonight.

And then to an early evening rest. I'm feeling old, am old. A bottle of Pinot Grigio, and I take a seat, out of the showery rain, and what grabs my attention? Roses, white roses. The warm temperatures of the last week or two have hurried a great many plants into bloom, especially the roses. I see cascades of Darlow's Enigma, arching branches of City of York, two trellises of Iceberg Climber, several Dove, and the Glamis Castle, and, down back, the White Meidiland roses are wakening. And the American Pillar roses, not white, trained on several arbors, are just exploding into bloom.

Speaking of white-flowered plants, Clematis lanuginosa 'Candida' has never bloomed so profusely or with such enthusiasm.

Strange, but I think I originally meant to speak of other things.

Jun 6, 2014

In Praise of Darllow's Enigma

In Praise of Darlow's Enigma

I have gradually reduced the number of roses we grow, or attempt to grow, to a few dozen here at Trout Creek Gardens, due to the less than ideal conditions. Our overall temperatures are too low and the growing season too short. In Portland, on the other side of the Cascades, it is quite a different story. 'The City of Roses' is not an epithet arrived at by accident. Our roses do of course eventually bloom, but the reward is often not commensurate with the effort and time we have expended - we'd probably be better off spending our time, and garden space, on genus and species better suited to our environment. But, considering roses, there are a few exceptions, and one rose in particular I would like to make note of, even blow a trumpet or alpenhorn, if I could find one. That rose is Darlow's Enigma. This is not one of those tight-budded, long-stemmed roses you pick for a lead glass-crystal vase, or to send commemoratively for births, graduations, paroles, weddings, or funerals, but it is a rose that will provide a profusion of blooms for much of your summer. Darlow's Enigma, at least here, begins slowly, like Ravel's 'Bolero", and then, as if it were a hippo, who, venturing out onto newly formed ice, finally accepts the fact that summer is really here, explodes with bloom. And the scent, on a warm day (we occasionally have one or two), is, well, very rose-like and can even tempt neighbors half a mile away to 'sniff the air'.

I still think the grandiflora roses, like "Queen Elizabeth", are magnificent, and, "The Impressionist" is something I bow my head to every time I pass by, but if you want a rose that is virtually indestructible, disease and pest free, loves the sun, but can shrug off all but the densest shade and still amaze you with its floriferousness, then try: Darlow's Enigma. If weeds were roses then Darlow's Enigma would probably be close to the top of a list of plants to hate.

I originally intended to write a few words about the Paeonies that are in full bloom at this particular time but I happened to wander down our 100 foot rose allee [arching Darlow's Enigma's of course] which are just beginning to bloom and….. 

And of course with thousands of untitled pictures on file I cannot find a photo of our oldest Darlow's Enigma, or any of our other D. E.'s in bloom so you will have to live with a picture, taken last week, of a Snowball Viburnum.

May 19, 2014

Plant of the Day

Plant of the Day

Damn but this is a busy time of year in the garden, but I always steal a few moments to smell, if not the roses, then the daphne, the azaleas, or the lilacs, or any of a dozen other plants that perfume the air to a lesser degree.
The blue poppies,

which I have determined are
Meconopsis Horridula, and not Meconopsis betonicifolia, 'Lingholm', nor grandis, and which I don't think will flower this year, loose out as the plant of the week simply because I have been spending too much time staring at them, and am determined to overpower their charm with my own, to a nearby azalea: Rhododendron 'Jane Abbott'. It is supposed to be 'lightly scented' but here, on a warm day, the perfume carries as far as one could hope, even farther. And then there is Rhododendron 'Vernus" - magnificent to say the least. And, and, and, the copper-leaved Acer palmatum Beni otake, or Beni fushigi.

And I should mention the spectacular (so far) results of Rhododendron seeds planted February 0f 2012. These were from a hand pollinated cross between [(Perfectly Pink x Janet Blair) X Abe Arnott] - very vigorous, unlike several other crosses I planted.

Bloom in two years?

Now, how do I economically carry over the few hundred Lewisia I seem to have brought into the world this year into the next?

May 14, 2014

The Blue Poppy

The Blue Poppy

It looks as if the blue poppies will bloom this year. Will have to check my records and see if I can determine whether these are Meconopsis betonicifolia, perhaps the lingholm variety, or M. horridula. Regardless, I am anxiously anticipating their full expansion.

Apr 24, 2014

In Seventh Heaven

In Seventh Heaven

Started the day by baking three loaves of bread. Simple fare: two sourdough and a loaf of Old English Barley. All turned out nicely browned. Of course I took the first loaf, the barley, while still warm, ripped off a few inches and slathered it with salted butter. This is what nirvana must be like I thought [and all visions of willing virgins faded into oblivion], and this is part of what being alive is all about, almost the equal of an orgasm.

Then to the garden.

But, before I could don secateurs and trowel, the mail arrived. Should any one human be gifted in one day with such overwhelming opulence? There was the [not to be discredited] mundane, tier one: the Smithsonian and Audubon magazines. Then, tier two: the Spring issue of The American Conifer Society Bulletin, and, [and here I actually prayed for heavier rain so I would be forced to stay indoors] tier three: three beautiful journals from the Japanese Alpine Rock Garden Society, including the inaugural 1979 issue, plus a wonderful book of Japanese wood block prints.

I worry, how will I find time to slip in an hour or two of necessary sleep tonight?

But, to the garden.

Alas, there is no time to report on the planting, pruning, weeding, transplanting, etc., that went on today despite the rain, and my diminishing energy has been spent.

Must mount a one-man expedition and search for Whinkla - after I plant the x, and the y, and z.

Apr 1, 2014

Come Rain or Come Shine

Come Rain or Come Shine

Days have been rather grey of late, an unyielding granite-grey to which only our burgeoning population of moles can comfortably relate - it's also been quite wet. Ten inches of rain in March, and almost the same amount fell in January and February. I know, many parts of the country get this amount of precipitation in a day or two, but our pluviosity is cold, penetrating, lingering like an unwanted winter cough. Things begin to mold, objects rot, creatures decay. The red steel wheelbarrow, left leaning against the hedge all winter, disintegrates. Bryophytes may wave their archegonium and antheridium in the damp air and be gay, but for the Lewisia, and several others, otherwise hardy plants, the center cannot hold under such conditions. Even the Himalayan Meconopsis seem to be loosing hope.

But, in the wee greenhouse, where muffled rumors of Spring are heard and promises shine, the Arabis blepharophylla have flowered and gone to seed. Draba are still in bloom, and in a few days, at least one Primula auricula will open its petals.

Outside, despite the weather, crocus and daffodil are blooming, dispelling any less-than-cheerful thoughts I might have harbored. And there are cyclamen, anemone, pulmonaria, hellebore, hepatica, and heathers, Iris tenax and the first primrose blooming. And as if the day wasn't wonderful enough, in and of itself, the latest issue of Café in Space, The Anais Nin Literary Journal, arrived. The world is indeed a wonderful place to be born into.

Mar 9, 2014

The Fabled Himalayan 'Blue Poppy'

The Fabled Himalayan 'Blue Poppy'

Two or three weeks ago the ground was frozen solid and I could find no evidence that the Meconopsis betonicifolia 'Lingholm' plants I planted last summer had survived. Seeds were planted mid January of 2013 and those that germinated transplanted to small pots near the end of February. They were transferred from the coziness of a warm, well-lit room in the house to a drafty greenhouse in March. Along the way I seemed to have killed all but a handful. However, on June 5 I managed to plant out seven small plants in a woodsy area near a prominent garden feature [and a few others which I will have to search for] and spent the rest of the summer worrying about them. Moles disturbed them more than once; deer used a nearby path, and last year was one of the worst for slugs. At the end of the year they had not grown much, if at all, and my hopes of ever having this magnificent poppy bloom diminished. So, as I was taking a cursory look around the gardens a few weeks ago assessing the winter damage I was not surprised to 'not see' anything but a patch of frost-heaved frozen ground where the poppies once grew. Amazingly, two days ago I was suprized to see five nice rosettes with what look like buds, and two inches tall to boot. What a difference a little extra daylight and warmth can make, but of course the ancient Egyptians knew this all along. With such early vigorous growth I have a reasonable hope of seeing a bloom or two this year. If I succeed the neighbors will just have to forgive my merrymaking.

Feb 7, 2014

A Good Neighbor

Just like a Good Neighbor, the Flicker is here

This little bugger [Northern or Western Flicker - Colaptes auratus], has been pecking away at the outside moulding around our windows for days now, searching for insects that have crawled into the cracks between the moulding and the siding to escape winter's arctic blast. The only trouble is, with that pointed three inch beak, wood chips are flying like it had a chain saw in its mouth. Efforts, like making scary faces through the window or holding up photos of our dead cat, to drive him or her away have been fruitless. Guess we'll just have to watch the slow disintegration of our home as rain and snow water dribble down into the studs and joists. As compensation, I suppose, it is a beautiful bird and a good neighbor.

Feb 6, 2014

Waiting for Spring

Waiting for warmer weather

Temperature -11C and still the Rhododendron dauricum on the left shows a definite 'less negative' response to present climatic conditions. At least we now have a few inches of snow dust to offer a modicum of protection from even harsher temperatures.

Feb 1, 2014

Genetic Variance

Genetic Variance

I couldn't help noticing as I toured part of the garden a few days ago how two young Rhododendron dauricum plants had reacted so differently to the cold. Curling of rhododendron leaves, as a response to frigid temperatures, is a natural reaction, though the mechanism that triggers the curling is poorly understood. (see These two seedlings were raised from the same seed source (Hokkaido, Japan) in 2012. Both have been growing side by side in the garden bed for over a year and have been treated in an identical manner. The one on the left is obviously not as concerned about adverse weather as the other. Rhododendron dauricum is very hardy to begin with but apparently some individuals are more tolerant than others, and when it blooms, that is the plant from which I will collect seed.

Jan 27, 2014

Arabis blepharophylla

Arabis blepharophylla

ravaged by deer

I'd like to advocate moving Odocoileus hemionus columbianus, the Black-tailed deer, and Odocoileus hemionus, the Mule deer into the order Rodentia. This would allow more latitude in how we deal with the mammoth number of these animals wandering the countryside pillaging property or looking for a handout. It is estimated ['On Science' - Dr. George Johnson] there were approximately 500,000 deer nationwide early in the twentieth century. Today, estimates place the number of deer in Missouri alone at 900,000 and Illinois at 750,000, and in the undeveloped patch of woods and brush next door to us we house a number that seems equally as large. The demise of the cougar, bobcat, coyote and wolf has had a dire effect on the balance between prey and predator. Manifestation of the Bambi Syndrome doesn't help matters either. And our deer are arrogant to a fault. They do not run until you are within a few yards, and then they simply saunter away, masticating whatever choice piece of herbage they have snipped. Shooting them with a pellet gun makes them chuckle, and they often give you an erect tail to contemplate. The only defense that works is a ten foot fence, preferably electrified, and I cannot afford such a construction nor would it be convenient. I have tried all the spray concoctions and other methods I have read about with what looks like a zero deterrent factor. If any of the sprays, pellets, human hair, cougar urine etc. are affecting their eating habits in an adverse way then, other than a few unpalatable nondescript species, our garden would be a rather poor place to spend time. I have purchased a box of 'Plantskydd' which seems to have garnered a lot of positive reviews, but I notice the ingredients are no different than some of the other products I have tried. We shall see. Thank goodness deer are not the most intelligent animal on the planet. Last year I placed two large pots of Tiny Bee and Tiny Hope Asiatic lilies and the Oriental lily Stargazer on either side of a garden path, near a bench. They were heavy with swelling buds and I was looking forward to a startling visual and olfactory display. A couple of days later all the buds from one of the pots were gone, but the other, perhaps three feet away, remained untouched. (This I covered with wire mesh, which while unattractive, did allow me the pleasure of their bright company a week or two later [I kept one eye and nostril closed). It's obvious some varieties are a favorite snack while others grow untouched. Some Hostas, Praying Hands and Guacamole for instance, are forever having to regrow if I forget to cover them. And our nice little grove of 4 foot Bald Cypress (Taxodium distichum) were turned into Charlie Brown Christmas trees one evening. Now it looks like Arabis blepharophylla is a choice pre-spring entree and we will be enjoying very few if any blooms this year. And I haven't mentioned . . . 

To sum up, I bear no malice toward any creature, or anything else for that matter it's just that sometimes the humor of their escapades escapes me.

I once played Shylock in Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice and although most all the dialogue is lost to me now I still recall a speech from Act One, which, to paraphrase the bard: ". . . still have I borne it with a patient shrug, for such sufferance is the bane of all our tribe, everywhere.

More seeds arrived today, to plant and nurse into 5 star fodder, or perhaps, if the cougars return, an eventual bloom.

Jan 25, 2014

le studio

le studio

It's been a while since I've spent any time in my 'studio' but, following a recent email I experienced a tickle of inspiration, not unlike a mild electrical shock [or did I put too much homemade salsa on the buritto?] Whatever the cause the sensation was, and is, most welcome, and I give credit, where credit is due. What do I care if most of whatever it is I create eventually ends up on the dung-heap? The process and the journey is what is important [or so I've been told]. Whatever, a glass or two or Merlot eases the pain.

The final repository of all art and history.

More, after I check the Arabis blepharophylla.

Jan 24, 2014

The Fire Next Time

The Fire Next Time

A recent, gentle voice from the beyond was apparently all the motivation I needed to convince myself it's time to light the raku kiln and fire four plaques I have had perched on top of the propane heating stove for half a year. At least they should be dry by now. With my limited experience and resources the results of any firing I attempt (no two the same) is problematic. I cringe when I tally the many times I have slowly raised the temperature in the kiln trying to avoid cracking, slumping, or other damage only to hear a muffled (or sharp) explosion as the piece or pieces thundered into a miriad shards. But, time is wasting, so the next time daytime temperatures rise above freezing there will be a warm yellow-orange glow emanating from the covered lean-to next to the garden shed, either that or another series of disappointing sounds, like that of four hands clapping.

Jan 10, 2014

LeRoi Jones

LeRoi (Amiri Baraka) Jones

On such a winter day the sad news came. Amiri Baraka - who will always be LeRoi Jones to me, had died. And what of the silence following his death? Who can explain that? May you Rest In Peace my friend, wherever your ashes are scattered, or your black bones interred. Perhaps you're there with Corso, who you may or may not have liked, or Kaufman, are you tossing poems back and forth with Bob? I'm sure Bremser is there, sleeping beneath his 'tit-topped slatted stack'. And if you find Frank O'Hara, tell him 'Hi'. but then move on.

Seems the world has grown a little bit smaller yet again. Such a pity. Ginsberg and Kerouac are dozing, serene for once, not having to be who they are, and Ted Jones, ah, who among us remembers his poetry, or that he named one of his daughters after Dali?

And yes, LeRoi Jones:
"I (also) wish some weird looking animal
would come along."

Who's left to us who survive? Ferlinghetti, Snyder?