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Solvitur ambulando

Hello. Have I reached customer service?
What is your name?
What is your question, human?
How do I solve an ambulance turd?
Clean it out with bleach. Rub down. Deodorize.
Okay, thanks.

. . . . . . . .

The lights were glimming softly. Twas brillig. My clock said buzz buzz buzz time for Tea.

You were there. That was the best thing of all. Not just another tea-time, oh no, I had known too many of them already, stealing poetry from other masters in the room, no, this was not just another time for tea when I struggled to remind myself why I was there. No. This was the time that you returned, and sat with me, that teatime, yes that tea-time, do you remember? I do.

It had been two hundred years, or was it three, spelled differant, since the opium wars when we addicted the west to tea? Was something like that, right? Yes, it was.


But now the foo was on the other shout, and they had addicted us to phentonal, or whatever it was you know that knock-out drug from hospital anaesthesia? There’s a word always gives me a little shudder, anaesthesia, yes, because it is derived from esthetic, you know, aesthesia, yes, it is. There. You see it. Good.

So I was walking hard just to get here on time, little dreaming that this time you would come back again. You did. And saved me from an abulance turd, you did.

Thank you.
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Impossible he said on the edge of delirium expecting
to see his name cut and then hearing that another had
given the feather into the ancient Scale of Justice.

I was writing himself, herself, and thinking about my father
who saved another man’s life once and oh my stars and heavens
what coincidence is that no no no no point in saying anything
but wow so many thanks for such sheer gift of time and conscience.

Remind me to tell you about the time our telephone number was the
exact winning sequence for a megamillion jackpot and of course who
would have figured we should go to the store and buy a ticket
on our phone number? No. That’s impossible, too.
agua cal tower

(no subject)


Everything looks like a nail, she said, and wept. My heart was broken with pain, after they killed him.

She could hardly face my little workshop now, where I hammered together a cheap table and chairs. Everything looks like a nail, she said. They, however, made it a lot easier. The nails, I mean. Before this, it was only pegs, and strips of leather who tied together the arms and legs of my furniture. After that, things are a lot easier.

All I really need is a stronger hammer.

agua cal tower

The Birthday Blues.

I used to think my birthday was cursed.

Not in the beginning, of course, because when I was a child, I was very fortunate. My family could cook, fix a special dinner, and give me a gift. Sometimes, not every year, but sometimes, I even had a birthday party. Young friends and family. You can still see the old photos when I was six, or something, and something else. Once, or maybe twice, we went to the beach. My favorite, Scripps.

Then, in my early twenties, some bad things happened on my birthday. I remember how a young woman asked me to talk with her and began telling me how she had been raped a few days ago. I listened. For maybe two hours. Once or twice I held her hand. Somewhere in there she asked me if I wanted her to go away. No, I said, you need to tell this to someone. She did not know it was my birthday. Five years later my pet guinea pig fell off the balcony two flights down onto the ground and broke its back in Washington DC. That was when my first wife said my birthday was cursed.

For three or four decades after that, I made my birthday into a day of atonement. I joked with people I knew and told them I feared my birthday was cursed. But the truth is it is I who am, and by saying the words I make it come true. Bad fortune that. Better to say the good words. Happy Birthday.

Finally, my last girlfriend, la Ultima, broke the curse.

First, she laughed and said I was a crazy bohemian artist there is no such thing as a birthday being cursed, there is only people who can choose whether to be happy, or not.

In vain I pointed out that it was very close to the day of atonement.

You are not Jewish, she reminded me. Yet I married one, I said. Well, then you are but it still does not matter because your birthday is your birthday and my birthday is my birthday and I can choose to be happy, and so can you… not just to be positive, but to plan to do something special, no, yes we must go someplace wonderful, and yes, eat a dinner. So I will invite you, my big beloved poet. You just let me take care of everything.

So we ended up sitting on the bench outside the door at a fancy restaurant because she forgot to make a reservation. Then we went to another place I’d heard about, Argentine, but it was already late by then and they were closing. So we went across to that famous place at the corner near the seventh-floor penthouse where Luis used to live.

After that, my birthday was not so cursed any more… except in my memory. She had taken away the grief from me and cried in my arms. Next week was hers. We went to Disneyland.

agua cal tower

(no subject)


Living rent-free in your head

No one will be eliminated. No robots will automatically capitalize
Every word at the beginning of each line. Or should that be
Each ward at the begging of every lion.   Or lien, as in
Real Estate.
               Yew no, yeas, thought in Spanish the Estate is not Real.
               Thaw cull eat, Roots Good. Bienes raices.
Homonyms are not Synonym ( s )
               And my typography cannot graphically indicate
               hoot who is whom, or which witch is watch.
You cannot see the truth unless I spiel it hear. Rot. Right. Write.
This is not – I repeat – this is knot             your mother’s    Mister L.E.D.
My horse is not hoarse, nor politically incorrect whores for my
Pepsidon’t, no, nor kisses niether, neither, yes, Ms. Spielings, is yo hare?

No. Not even in my head am I free. No one will be eliminated.
All live here, all pay rent, and only I am left to die.

Some day. Soon, or late, or whenever, after a lifetime
I in my head.                                    Live, from Gnu Snark…
Tits Asinine Knight !                       Wither Vadis Dominatrix ?

To market, to market,    eye goad.
Yew reed me?                                  I red you.

agua cal tower


The Topic for Week 1 is


The Topic for Week 1 is

Is one letter different than


Don’t turn on me yet, I am still changing.

In a peach, impeach we broke and stripped our hides.
This time, my grin reminded you of nothing except here we go again.
So, maybe it will be only an enquiry.
Or is that inquiry?

OK bye


number nine
number nine
number nine

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prometheus and the rebirth of LJ idol

The vision of Prometheus.

It was a capital crime, they said, whoever made the judgement and punished him, whether titan or later god, or even something from before, in that lost mythology we sometimes dream about.

The lost aliens on TV making history come out conspiracy, yes, and I remember hearing the book that said the gods drove chariots, long, long ago. You can see them in their stone age helmets, breathing life long, long ago, before the grass turned brown and the earth dried out desert.

Tohu and bohu, a teacher Jew once told me. Emptyness and nothing.

The complete opposite of God’s commandment: Be Fruitful and Multiply.

It was the vision of Prometheus, they said.

agua cal tower



Q: The trolley problem.

A: Abortion.

Discuss and decline. One or other. The.

No, not the red herring, please, NOT THE RED HERRING !  !   !     !       !           !             !

1 2  3   5     7       11           13             17

Nothing is divisible by itself.

This statement is false.

That is all.



agua cal tower

deadline tuesday 31 january 2017 8 pm est

Where I’m From – a scatterbrained memoir.

I’m From a Pair of Grammar Fascists, no, a Trio.

My Father, My Mother, My Stepfather. They all knew, they all know, how to say “lie” instead of “lay” – or didn’t you know that pedantic and “proper” dialect?  That discriminating difference that only the children of English teachers bother to worry oh-so-redundantly about any more. No? Well, it is a dialect. Yes it is. It is. Is.

Lay down please, Mr. K., the nurse said at the clinic.

I am not a hen, my stepfather said. I don’t lay eggs. If you want me to lie down, ask me to lie down.

No. I lie. Like a dog. What he actually said was DAMNIT I AM NOT A CHICKEN FUCKING HEN

No. I lie again. He did not say FUCKING.

He did say DAMNIT.

We used to say about my second father, that if he calls you : NAME DAMNIT then you know he loves you.

Where I am from, I would gladly have him call me damnit again, just to hear his voice alive and well once more.

But they are gone. Both of them. My late fathers.

I am from three parents.

My mother, my father, and my stepfather.

All of them, each of them, grammar fascists.

My daddy died when I was twenty six. So I remember him very well. But he was only fifty six at the time, ten years younger than I am today, as I write this, where I’m from. He was also an alcoholic. I saw him ripped away from me into the addiction of drugs, I mean his drink and his smoke. Yes, in addition to drinking, he also smoked cigarettes. The back bathroom, attached to his and my mom’s bedroom, always stank of old poop and dead cigarettes. He would come home from the rocket laboratories after spending a hard day blowing things up to see why they could blow up, or why they would blow up, and then go sit on the throne and have a smoke while he slowly took a dump. He would read science fiction.

I miss him. I am from there.

I remember he took me out for a walk one evening in 1956 or then abouts. Pointed to the planet Mars. A brilliant red pinprick of light in the night-time sky. I believe I am from a place where he said mankind will go there one day. Thirteen years later, seven years before my Daddy died, a man walked on the moon. Then another. Walked. And another pair, next trip. Then more. Several. Two by two. They also drove a car. It is still there. They came home. I wonder if they left the keys.

My first father was happy when sputnik launched. He knew it meant that soon he would and could be working on rockets instead of airplanes. I believe he preferred rockets. I believe I am from there. That place in the outer worlds. Where heaven is not just a word. Where the heavens are plural. I used to have a bag of marbles that used to be his. For a while, they were my planets. I told them about Voyager, which he did not live to see. John Glenn rode on one of his rockets. It did not explode.

My mother is also a grammar fascist. I say was AND she is because she is still alive. She complains because her children say lay instead of lie. Ninety seven she will be this year. She was thirty when I was born from her body. She let them cut off a piece of my penis and then she fed me from a bottle. I’m from there. But other than doing to her baby what they told her she had to do to be a modern, independent woman, other than that she was a very good mother. I am from there, definitely. My heart breaks when I think that one day, soon, she will leave me. But at least she did not die thirty years before her time. No. She married an old friend from long ago whom she had not seen in thirty-four  years. They had twenty-nine years and nine months together before he, too, died. Ten years ago this summer.

We all die, and will have died, and that is history. We are born, we live, for long or short or in between; and then, we die. It's all the juicy parts that come in-between. That's what matters.

You are from there. I’m from there.

I am from my mother. That’s what I tell Jehovah’s nitwits when they ask at the door who created me. My mother grew me. Then I was born. That is Where I’m From.

Just don’t ask me to babysit the grandchildren, Mom said, when my son was born. She still says it. She hates the sweatshirt my younger brother and his wife and kids gave her last month because it says Grandmas never run out of cookies or hugggggs so have a Merry Christmas. Ugly horrible Xmas RED Sweatshirt. So cute it makes you want to vomit. They are always trying to please her. She loves them anyway. Don’t none of you call me Gramma, she says. She calls me grumpy when I complain. Here I am. Other than that, she is a loving, generous person. She used to be an English teacher. No wonder she’s a grammar fascist.

I am from there, too. Except that I am more than grumpy. I tell tales, like this one. Yes. Here we are, reading another one.

My stepfather was a genius. He dropped out of Berkeley in his senior year because he said they had nothing more to teach him. A couple years after that, when he was courting in 1940, my grandfather and grandmother sat my mother down and warned her not to marry him. It took him thirty-four years to win her back. My grandparents never went to college. They warned her that he would always shame her. They were wrong. But I am from there. Two years later, my mother met someone else. In New York City. On a blind date. During the war.

My stepfather, meanwhile, went to war and became an Army engineer. He was different after that.

After what he saw. He came home, then invented and patented the inductor, which no one uses, but which could provide millions of gallons of fresh water and electricity, merely through evaporation. Of course it would cost a lot of money to build the damn thing. Build the DAMN thing, already, damnit, he would say if you asked him. Later he also inherited land and bought some more and never had to work again for the rest of his life. His children had trouble at school answering that old question: what does your parent do for a living. I don’t know, they said. He stays home all day and reads books, and goes on vacation. Finally he told them to say he was a property manager. Damnit.

My mother says she did not marry him for his money – what little he had – enough to go to Europe or travel America in a motor home – but then, we both live in his house. My mother says it is the best place she ever lived. Thirty-nine years now, and counting. Thirty years with him, then nine as widow. Soon to be ten. She misses him. We all do.

Yet we are in his debt. If he had not paid off the mortgage fifty years ago, neither of us could afford to live here. The house has a view, you see. You can literally see for miles. Sometimes I wish I really were from here – not having to work, staring at the sunset. Because I still live in his house with my mother. Four bedrooms, three bathrooms.  Comfortable. I’m retired, with medicare and a small social security payment. I also get work occasionally on the internet, translating Mexican Spanish into English.

So I am at least part-time from there. Here. Where. The sun rises.

Well, however, I fear you must excuse me now. I have to fix breakfast for Mom, and then I am and have this dirty laundry to do and wash. I’m from there. Where. Here.

Bourgeois pseudo-trustafarian.