Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Constantine P. Cavafy, 29 April 1863 - 29 April 1933

Today, while they embed the new French drain in the patio,
Send 145 life and death greetings to Constantine P. Cavafy:

Whose student, closer to Shanghai than Istanbul,
dreams past the porcelain Hospice of Sta. Caterina
and walks into the field where his mother,
who to him has become the Duchesse d’Guermantes,
sits on the hood of an antique Rolls-Royce smoking cigarettes.

And look how he promises her a portrait
of each border crossed resident:
That she might know each family and send each a
Welcome Wagon.

Monday, April 21, 2008

From a notebook: 30 June 1997


Of all the fairest cities of the Earth
None is so fair as FLORENCE. Tis' a gem
Of the purest ray; and what light broke forth,
When it emerged from darkness! Search within,
Without; all is enchantment! 'Tis the past
Contending with the Present; and in turn
Each has the mastery...

~Samuel Rogers, Italy, A Poem, 1830

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

The Secret Garden, Baudelaire and The Confluence

Celui dont les pensers, comme des alouettes,
Vers les cieux le matin prennent un libre essor,
- Qui plane sur la vie, et comprend sans effort
Le langage des fleurs et des choses muettes!

(The man whose thoughts, like larks, take to their wings
Each morning, freely speeding through the air,
- Who soars above this life,
interpreter Of flowers' speech, the voice of silent things!)

The last stanza of The Elevation, from Fleur-du-Mal, by Charles Baudelaire, 9 April 1821 - 31 August 1867. The translation is by James McGowan. Today is Baudelaire's 187th birthday.

The image above Baudelaire's stanza is a camfone photo, detailed in MSPaint, taken by a Polaroid of a 5 x 6 foot 1992 canvas originally called 'The Secret Garden', which was painted over later that year with another painting called 'The Confluence', below. It hangs in France, and was first posted here.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Poems from Dry Creek: New and Selected Work by John Dofflemyer

Miss Bingo, 1992, acrylic on masonite, 11 x 12 inches.
Photo by S. Chopper Martinez.

~ Io~

On the horns of an infant moon,
the creek shrinks and pools
between sycamores and live oaks

as babies come to first-time mothers
bringing the bear tracks downcanyon
on the scent of spent placentas.

Black progeny of the river nymph -
white heifer driven madly by Hera's
gadfly Oestrus to cross continents

and populate Asia - find maternity
perplexing at first. Yet, lick and nuzzle
the stumbling wet struggle to stand,

suckle and rest that enflames instinct
in all flesh. Worthy timeless worship,
no better mother ever than a cow.

~ John Dofflemyer, Poems from Deer Creek, 2008.

Fifty-four poems new and selected poems are published by Starhaven in London.

The note at the start of the book says this:

"John Dofflemyer is a cattle-rancher and poet. His work has been widely published in journals and chapbooks. He lives at the edge of the Sierra Nevadas on a piece of land his family has worked since shortly after the California goldrush.

The cover of this book incorprates a drawing by Cloyd J. Sweigert, an early settler of the Santa Clara Valley who took an agricultural degree at the University of California at Berkeley before going on to become a cartoonist for The San Francisco Chronicle. "

I met John and his wife Robin at another ranch in the Sierras several years ago. John could as easily be writing from or about any country. He recently gave a reading of his poems in West Los Angeles.

Reading "Io" in his new book, I saw my own 'Miss Bingo' standing in 'worthy timeless worship' on her platform in the hills. She was inspired by a cow bingo game at a street fair in Lindsay, California, 15 or so years ago. She looks a little old to be a heifer, but her bovinity is clear.

I've happily added John and Robbin's website, Dry Crik Journal, to the list of links at the right.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Three boats on Santa Monica Bay, 2008

Acrylic on canvas, 36 x 36 inches.

The Willamette: The Canby Ferry, 18 July 1998

Small watercolors meant for postcards; never sent, found stuck away in an old notebook.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Crossing the Channel: drawings from a sketchbook, 10 July 1976

Dover, 2:30AM.

Dover to Calais, 2:30AM.

Calais, 3:30Am.

~The Night Boat~

Looking back from the aft deck

keep England in sight across the ferry’s wake.

Let France come on slowly, from behind,

through a passage of dreams and clouds lit with great expectation.

Then turn around and draw the waves as if they were letters home

telling your mother everything's fine, still asking for money.

~3 April 2008

Tuesday, April 01, 2008