Sunday, December 31, 2006

New Year's Eve 2006

Yes, this is what I'm beginning to look like: recognized by a preconscient preternatural Albrecht Durer.
It's not cold tonight and hardly foggy.
I hope there will be no earth-shattering events tonight.
A few fireworks down on the Embarcadero by the Bay.
I'm home, laundry done, Ananda pretending a blanket is a cave:
Happy as a clam am I; happy and my heart content:

A bomb in San Bruno was discovered in a home not far from SFO;
Monday, the first day of 2007 is my last vacation day;
I watched Keith Barry tonight on CBS: pretty amazing fooling around
with celebrities, doing his Illusions, making them forget or confused
and liking it;

Can you name all the dead presidents? will you brave the elements?
sure, sure put in your two cents: I know what you're thinking
even before you think it: I'm my own worst enemy.

People are supposed to put off driving and not burn wood because
they say it's a save the air night; the Bay Bridge looks twinkley if a little
fuzzy on my TV; temperatures are 37 - 48 degrees over the Bay Area;
Sunny Pleasant temperatures are predicted for tomorrow but there
is a Storm out on the Pacific; cozy and warm here in the apartment;

I watched My Blue Heaven this afternoon; great Technicolor of soft gray tones:
Gray Grays, silvery grays, French Grays, green grays, blue grays; shades of
Navy Blue and very few blacks, all punctuated and accented with autumny
tones of greens and reds; beautifully lit; the story is so so; the cast: delightful.

I don't feel hell-bent; or full of incident; I feel like a fly in ointment; I wonder
if I've ever made a gentleman's agreement; I know I'm a glutton for punishment
and enjoy giving but not receiving left-handed compliments; I certainly
want to attain true enlightenment while in my element and don't ever
want to receive a capital punishment but most definitely want the red-carpet
treatment; and worry over people giving me the silent
treatment; from moment to moment I worry or fret; and on the spur of
the moment I get up and pour some coffee; time signs my death warrant; I'm the
heir apparent to failure; and in a weird halfway decent way I'm feeling
heaven sent and instead of having not one red cent I'd rather be
partying at Spundae or 1015 Folsom or sitting quietly receiving the future
like a horn of plenty with twenty-twenty hindsight.

Other than that city traffic moves smoothly, is light,

Let's see: what have I forgotten.

-- jw

Saturday, December 30, 2006


Gerald Ford's children used to play in Statuary Halll.
Now, there's a pause while his coffin makes the rounds.
I think it's moving.
The presidency means so much to Americans.
He's probably the nicest president we've had in the last half century.
It's a sight we've never seen before: an ex-President lying in repose in front of the open door of the House Chamber.

You can hear their heels clicking on the stone floors.
Ford served in the House for 24 years.
The stillness echoes too; the winter wreath with white flowers.

Next, the casket will proceed to the Rotunda.
His enormous ambition was to lead the House.
Now we're marking history.
Think of where you were when Ford proclaimed the long nightmare is over.

Many of these dignitaries have no dignity:
they stand around chatting and twitching and seem compelled to touch their
face or fluff their hair or simply fidget -- looking worried.

The overwhelming impression is one of frigid solemnity; Mrs. Ford chokes back a tear.
She looks so fragile and vulnerable. The hall has such a loud reverberation you can almost hear the power of America cracking.

step, step, step, step, step,

For mighty is the hand that can turn a page of history.

Someone just collapsed in the crowd: a dignitary.
The stone floors of the Rotunda are not easy to stand long on.

There's nothing better than Live TV -- before all the awkwardness is edited out.
They're just dealing with it: just stand or sit and wait.
Remember Jerry Ford was 93 and many of these people are his contemporaries.
Waiting in the cold may have been too much for some of them.

Our long national nightmare is over.

Is that a question or a memory.

-- jw

Immediate Sunrise

There's immediate sadness in the sky this morning.
A little bit warmer: the sky
bloody with hints of last words (unhooded).

The man across the street in front of the bus kiosk
is in handcuffs; a policeman is dancing in the streets.

All the monsters in hell are dancing in Deerborn
Michigan; I harbor hate and heat in my heart.

I've considered moving to Palm Desert to weep over
memories I have of the 70s but decide: precision
is the highest form of honor and will opt for giddy alliance

with a future involving comic books and super
heroes, transit bus crashes and continuing cold.

I promise to sleep better in the future.
I promise to feel a cup of coffee amounts to God
and will surely cinch my future fame.

It is better to sip champagne than keep global prices down.


Thursday, December 28, 2006

As the Year Draws to a Close

I always make the wrong decisions and end up investing mistakes with meaning.

I find it both exhilarating and dangerous waiting for ideas to fall into my mind.

In the movie: Just For You Ethel Barrymore knows more about outboard motors than Bing Crosby.

So far the winter season has been pretty sunny.

We've had a daily succession of earthquakes: mostly in the 3.7 or 2.8 range: unnerving events.

They only last about a second or two; death enters you as very real and then it's over.

Bob Arthur: fetching in a sleeveless t-shirt; shaving cream smudged around his ears.

Was Jane Wyman used when the director couldn't get but wanted Claudette Colbert?

My two week vacation is nearly over.

Ananda, curled up asleep on the mattress, exhibits trust, a voice of silence, skillfully harmonic sense of self and/or being, and endearing sensual presence. In other words, delight.

Bing Crosby has about seven moves: he can't really dance.

I believe absolutely every word that comes out of Ethel Barrymore's mouth.

Six college boys svelte in swimmer boxers are moping on the beach.

Sometimes it's easier to say something than to be in question.

There's nothing going on and I can't pretend there is.

You may want wish plead hope cajole or rant but it's not Technicolor.

I need to write to Michelle about Miu Miu and Mason.

I would prefer to be 25 -- the circuits through San Francisco are wider.

I find it impossible to believe Matador pants were ever fashionable.

We both feel the same about each other: time will take care of everything.

There seems to be something within that observes but takes no part.

Love writes the sweetest songs or is it longing.

I love this urge to perform in public: I believe anything Ethel Barrymore says.

Unfortunately every time I fall in love I also develop a nasty head cold.

Flags are at half mast in SF for the next month: in memory of fallen police officer Bryan Tuvera.

Thousands turned out to bid farewell to the Godfather of Soul.

What are police doing to insure New Years Eve is safe?

It's chilly tonight. Dry weather is with us. That means blue skies.

Children of Men looks like the major big impact movie to see.

I find it nearly impossible to say anything about myself that doesn't involve food, sex or sleep.

Now that my mother's husband is dying I'm wondering what to feel about it.

To understand what it is I am feeling I would need to call in a German screenwriter with the sensitivity of a weatherman.

Sometimes I wonder if my biological father is still alive or who will let me know if he too is dying or already dead.

Ethel Barrymore once told me that at 60 parents should really have been dead for ten years.

I believe her, after all, like the world, she overflows with passion.

I am the son of an ascetic landscape severe by nature and often absent.

Like you I wait for the rain to fall in some kind of musical resonance.

I don't talk to a lot of people anymore for fear of making necessary journeys, decisions or responses.

"How are things going" "Great just great" "I wish I could believe you"

The night has an extraordinary way of passing unknown, on cue, just in time.

Winter is here. The year is ending. It's early. What depth the sky has.

Nowhere to go, no one phones, how does he do it?

-- jw

Sunday, December 24, 2006

The Cultivation of Christmas Trees

There are several attitudes towards Christmas,
Some of which we may disregard:
The social, the torpid, the patently commercial,
The rowdy (the pubs being open till midnight),
And the childish - which is not that of the child
For whom the candle is a star, and the gilded angel
Spreading its wings at the summit of the tree
Is not only a decoration, but an angel.

The child wonders at the Christmas Tree:
Let him continue in the spirit of wonder
At the Feast as an event not accepted as a pretext;
So that the glittering rapture, the amazement
Of the first-remembered Christmas Tree,
So that the surprises, delight in new possessions
(Each one with its peculiar and exciting smell),
The expectation of the goose or turkey
And the expected awe on its appearance,

So that the reverence and the gaiety
May not be forgotten in later experience,
In the bored habituation, the fatigue, the tedium,
The awareness of death, the consciousness of failure,
Or in the piety of the convert
Which may be tainted with a self-conceit
Displeasing to God and disrespectful to children
(And here I remember also with gratitude
St.Lucy, her carol, and her crown of fire):

So that before the end, the eightieth Christmas
(By "eightieth" meaning whichever is last)
The accumulated memories of annual emotion
May be concentrated into a great joy
Which shall be also a great fear, as on the occasion
When fear came upon every soul:
Because the beginning shall remind us of the end
And the first coming of the second coming.

-- T.S. Eliot

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Friday, December 15, 2006

little tree

little tree
little silent Christmas tree
you are so little
you are more like a flower

who found you in the green forest
and were you very sorry to come away?
see i will comfort you
because you smell so sweetly

i will kiss your cool bark
and hug you safe and tight
just as your mother would,
only don't be afraid

look the spangles
that sleep all the year in a dark box
dreaming of being taken out and allowed to shine,
the balls the chains red and gold the fluffy threads,

put up your little arms
and i'll give them all to you to hold
every finger shall have its ring
and there won't a single place dark or unhappy

then when you're quite dressed
you'll stand in the window for everyone to see
and how they'll stare!
oh but you'll be very proud

and my little sister and i will take hands
and looking up at our beautiful tree
we'll dance and sing
"Noel Noel"

-- e e cummings

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Into the Dusk-Charged Air

Far from the Rappahannock, the silent
Danube moves along toward the sea.
The brown and green Nile rolls slowly
Like the Niagara's welling descent.
Tractors stood on the green banks of the Loire
Near where it joined the Cher.
The St. Lawrence prods among black stones
And mud. But the Arno is all stones.
Wind ruffles the Hudson's
Surface. The Irawaddy is overflowing.
But the yellowish, gray Tiber
Is contained within steep banks. The Isar
Flows too fast to swim in, the Jordan's water
Courses over the flat land. The Allegheny and its boats
Were dark blue. The Moskowa is
Gray boats. The Amstel flows slowly.
Leaves fall into the Connecticut as it passes
Underneath. The Liffey is full of sewage,
Like the Seine, but unlike
The brownish-yellow Dordogne.
Mountains hem in the Colorado
And the Oder is very deep, almost
As deep as the Congo is wide.
The plain banks of the Neva are
Gray. The dark Saône flows silently.
And the Volga is long and wide
As it flows across the brownish land. The Ebro
Is blue, and slow. The Shannon flows
Swiftly between its banks. The Mississippi
Is one of the world's longest rivers, like the Amazon.
It has the Missouri for a tributary.
The Harlem flows amid factories
And buildings. The Nelson is in Canada,
Flowing. Through hard banks the Dubawnt
Forces its way. People walk near the Trent.
The landscape around the Mohawk stretches away;
The Rubicon is merely a brook.
In winter the Main
Surges; the Rhine sings its eternal song.
The Rhône slogs along through whitish banks
And the Rio Grande spins tales of the past.
The Loir bursts its frozen shackles
But the Moldau's wet mud ensnares it.
The East catches the light.
Near the Escaut the noise of factories echoes
And the sinuous Humboldt gurgles wildly.
The Po too flows, and the many-colored
Thames. Into the Atlantic Ocean
Pours the Garonne. Few ships navigate
On the Housatonic, but quite a few can be seen
On the Elbe. For centuries
The Afton has flowed.
If the Rio Negro
Could abandon its song, and the Magdalena
The jungle flowers, the Tagus
Would still flow serenely, and the Ohio
Abrade its slate banks. The tan Euphrates would
Sidle silently across the world. The Yukon
Was choked with ice, but the Susquehanna still pushed
Bravely along. The Dee caught the day's last flares
Like the Pilcomayo's carrion rose.
The Peace offered eternal fragrance
Perhaps, but the Mackenzie churned livid mud
Like tan chalk-marks. Near where
The Brahmaputra slapped swollen dikes
And the Pechora? The São Francisco
Skulks amid gray, rubbery nettles. The Liard's
Reflexes are slow, and the Arkansas erodes
Anthracite hummocks. The Paraná stinks.
The Ottawa is light emerald green
Among grays. Better that the Indus fade
In steaming sands! Let the Brazos
Freeze solid! And the Wabash turn to a leaden
Cinder of ice! The Marañón is too tepid, we must
Find a way to freeze it hard. The Ural
Is freezing slowly in the blasts. The black Yonne
Congeals nicely. And the Petit-Morin
Curls up on the solid earth. The Inn
Does not remember better times, and the Merrimack's
Galvanized. The Ganges is liquid snow by now;
The Vyatka's ice-gray. The once-molten Tennessee s
Curdled. The Japurá is a pack of ice. Gelid
The Columbia's gray loam banks. The Don's merely
A giant icicle. The Niger freezes, slowly.
The interminable Lena plods on
But the Purus' mercurial waters are icy, grim
With cold. The Loing is choked with fragments of ice.
The Weser is frozen, like liquid air.
And so is the Kama. And the beige, thickly flowing
Tocantins. The rivers bask in the cold.
The stern Uruguay chafes its banks,
A mass of ice. The Hooghly is solid
Ice. The Adour is silent, motionless.
The lovely Tigris is nothing but scratchy ice
Like the Yellowstone, with its osier-clustered banks.
The Mekong is beginning to thaw out a little
And the Donets gurgles beneath the
Huge blocks of ice. The Manzanares gushes free.
The Illinois darts through the sunny air again.
But the Dnieper is still ice-bound. Somewhere
The Salado propels irs floes, but the Roosevelt's
Frozen. The Oka is frozen solider
Than the Somme. The Minho slumbers
In winter, nor does the Snake
Remember August. Hilarious, the Canadian
Is solid ice. The Madeira slavers
Across the thawing fields, and the Plata laughs.
The Dvina soaks up the snow. The Sava's
Temperature is above freezing. The Avon
Carols noiselessly. The Drôme presses
Grass banks; the Adige's frozen
Surface is like gray pebbles.

Birds circle the Ticino. In winter
The Var was dark blue, unfrozen. The
Thwaite, cold, is choked with sandy ice;
The Ardèche glistens feebly through the freezing rain.

-- John Ashbery

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Thanks Dude!

When are we going to the Korean BBQ!!!!!!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Friday, December 08, 2006

Out of Character

Meditations in an Emergency

Am I to become profligate as if I were a blonde? Or religious
as if I were French?

Each time my heart is broken it makes me feel more adventurous
(and how the same names keep recurring on that interminable
list!), but one of these days there'll be nothing left with
which to venture forth.

Why should I share you? Why don't you get rid of someone else
for a change?

I am the least difficult of men. All I want is boundless love.

Even trees understand me! Good heavens, I lie under them, too,
don't I? I'm just like a pile of leaves.

However, I have never clogged myself with the praises of
pastoral life, nor with nostalgia for an innocent past of
perverted acts in pastures. No. One need never leave the
confines of New York to get all the greenery one wishes--I can't
even enjoy a blade of grass unless i know there's a subway
handy, or a record store or some other sign that people do not
totally _regret_ life. It is more important to affirm the
least sincere; the clouds get enough attention as it is and
even they continue to pass. Do they know what they're missing?
Uh huh.

My eyes are vague blue, like the sky, and change all the time;
they are indiscriminate but fleeting, entirely specific and
disloyal, so that no one trusts me. I am always looking away.
Or again at something after it has given me up. It makes me
restless and that makes me unhappy, but I cannot keep them
still. If only i had grey, green, black, brown, yellow eyes; I
would stay at home and do something. It's not that I'm
curious. On the contrary, I am bored but it's my duty to be
attentive, I am needed by things as the sky must be above the
earth. And lately, so great has _their_ anxiety become, I can
spare myself little sleep.

Now there is only one man I like to kiss when he is unshaven.
Heterosexuality! you are inexorably approaching. (How best
discourage her?)

St. Serapion, I wrap myself in the robes of your whiteness
which is like midnight in Dostoevsky. How I am to become a
legend, my dear? I've tried love, but that holds you in the
bosom of another and I'm always springing forth from it like
the lotus--the ecstasy of always bursting forth! (but one must
not be distracted by it!) or like a hyacinth, "to keep the
filth of life away," yes, even in the heart, where the filth is
pumped in and slanders and pollutes and determines. I will my
will, though I may become famous for a mysterious vacancy in
that department, that greenhouse.

Destroy yourself, if you don't know!

It is easy to be beautiful; it is difficult to appear so. I
admire you, beloved, for the trap you've set. It's like a
final chapter no one reads because the plot is over.

"Fanny Brown is run away--scampered off with a Cornet of Horse;
I do love that little Minx, & hope She may be happy, tho' She
has vexed me by this exploit a little too.--Poor silly
Cecchina! or F:B: as we used to call her.--I wish She had a
good Whipping and 10,000 pounds." -- Mrs. Thrale

I've got to get out of here. I choose a piece of shawl and my
dirtiest suntans. I'll be back, I'll re-emerge, defeated, from
the valley; you don't want me to go where you go, so I go where
you don't want me to. It's only afternoon, there's a lot
ahead. There won't be any mail downstairs. Turning, I spit in
the lock and the knob turns.

-- Frank O'Hara

Thursday, December 07, 2006


Poetry is I say essentially a vocabulary just as prose is essentially not. And what is the vocabulary of which poetry absolutely is. It is a vocabulary based on the noun as prose is essentially and determinately and vigorously not based on the noun. Poetry is concerned with using with abusing, with losing with wanting with denying with avoiding with adoring with replacing the noun. It is doing that always doing that, doing that doing nothing but that. Poetry is doing nothing but using losing refusing and pleasing and betraying and caressing nouns. That is what poetry does, that is what poetry has to do no matter what kind of poetry it is. And there are a great many kinds of poetry. So that is poetry really loving the name of anything and that is not prose.

-- Gertrude Stein

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

UCSF Library Staff Meeting


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