Saturday, July 30, 2011


 So this week's JAM is a well-aged jam.  A little less appetizing than a well-aged wine.  And we are in daunting company:

 "It little profits that an idle king,
By this still hearth, among these barren crags,
Matched with an aged wife, I mete and dole
Unequal laws unto a savage race,
That hoard, and sleep, and feed, and know not me."
                              Alfred Lord Tennyson


"I grow old… I grow old…
I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.

Shall I part my hair behind? Do I dare to eat a peach?
I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach.
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.

I do not think that they will sing to me."

                           T.S. Eliot

"When I get older losing my hair,
Many years from now,
Will you still be sending me a valentine
Birthday greetings bottle of wine?"
                           The Beatles   

"Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light."

                                         Dylan Thomas
Okay!  Enough fun quoting favorite old age poems.   Since my poetry style of choice if free verse, my submission will be in a formal rhyme which is outside of my comfort zone.  But then again, at 65 years-old just about everything is outside my comfort zone.  In fact, I'm not sure I can remember what my comfort zone is.  Anyhow - here is my submission for the week:

Sonnet for Methuselah

I do not measure years by counting birthday cakes.
At this point years do not reflect my age.
I measure age by counting pills I take
and names I know upon the obit page.

They say old age is not for faint of heart
unless accompanied by faint of mind.
(Now I can't remember the next part
except I think that it's suppose to rhyme.)

My body sags, the waist line grows
to eat a peach, I still will dare,
but worry now about my bladder flows
and D.C. boobs who cut my Medicare.

Do not go gently into that good night.
At least Viagra keeps one thing a'right.

Okay - that was fun.  Now I'm going back to bed if I can still remember where the bedroom is.

P.S.   While I was putting this together, my subconscious started singing to me again.  Unfortunately, I cannot shake the Billy Joel song, "We didn't light the fire," which I started plagerizing a few weeks ago.  And this week's geezer theme set it off again.  Unable to stop it, the following encore poem fragment came out. You really need to sing it out loud to get the full effect.  I drove my wife out of the house with my rendition.

Wellbutrin, Benicar, Zoloft brings me back to par,
Centrum Silver, Synthroid, fish oil in a childproof jar
Metamucil, Lipitor, Advil when the muscle's sore
Where is Jack Kevorkian, I can't take it anymore!

I didn't start the fire
but it's in the tummy and the feeling's crummy
I didn't start the fire
though I didn't start it, I'm too tired to fight it.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Friday Hometown Shootout - PINK

This will probably be quick, I think, walking into the B&B Studio.  The rules for this week's shoot excluded flowers.  Of course, we often don't follow rules much, but I really couldn't find a lot of pink things that weren't flowers.  Maybe I didn't try hard enough.   But when I open the door, my heart sinks when I see how excited Bagman is.  This is rarely a good sign.

BAGMAN, proudly sporting a T-Shirt that reads:  "I love PINK," and shouting: "I want to take the pictures!!!  Pink!! Pink!!  Show me the pink!!"

I'm a bit lost but concerned because Bagman can be dangerously inappropriate at times.  I look over at Butler for an explanation.

BUTLER (whispering in my ear so that my readers can't hear and won't be offended):  "From what little research I did before I succumbed to disgust, the word 'pink' in some circles has gained a rather pornographic connotation.  It is sad but this delicate, innocent, colorful word has been usurped to refer to...well...I'd rather not say."

BAGMAN:  "Usurp!!   Usurp!!  Let's post pictures of me usurping pink!"

Understanding pours over me like a cold rain and I turn to Bagman authoritatively,  "Not a chance!"

BAGMAN (deflated but glaring): "You're turning into a $%&##ing old wimp!  I'll bet you don't even remember when we were twenty!"

"As seldom as possible,"  I reply, "And never when blogging.  This is a G-rated blog and it's going to stay that way.  Take your T-shirt and sit in the corner."

I don't have much but I sit down at the computer to post my blog.  It is slow going because I have to keep ducking various sex toys that Bagman is hurling at me. 

An unsold pink dress in a store that is victim to the economy

Pink Cadillac
(Well, not a Cadillac, and not really too pink either)
I told you that I didn't have much this week.

A mural over the Charleston City Market

BUTLER: "Excuse me for interrupting, but I don't see how this fits with the theme of pink."

"Look closely.  The apple is definitely not red."

BUTLER: "You really are grasping for straws in this shoot."

And finally:

BAGMAN (shouting from the corner while throwing another obscene artifact that I can't identify, fortunately): "YES!  Now you're getting it!  Pink the color of love!!"

BUTLER (Throwing back whatever it was that Bagman threw):  "Lizard Brain!"

Since that is all I have, I close the computer and make my escape from the studio.  Just before I close the door, I am slapped on the back of the head by a deflated inflatable sex doll.  Sometimes I don't know how I put up with these guys!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Monday Poetry Jam -- Temptation


So here you are again, after all these years,
at the edge, staring down the gorge,
old friend you never thought you’d see again,
higher, steeper, whispering louder
than ever before.  Vertigo pulls
in the gut, looking out at thin air,
wishing you could plead innocence
instead of feeling old  shame,
how perfectly you understand the choice:

You step off into space and fly…
    feel the wind sing on your skin…
       blood boil in your heart…
            fall truly alive and free…
then agony – suddenly broken and torn,
faced with crawling back up the rocks
with bleeding fingers

Or you can back away through brush and stride…
     solid ground supporting feet…
         self-control reining mind…
             march with righteousness…
that turns dull gray slogging through the chill
mildew growing on souls of feet
numb with growing cold.

You act as if the choice is hard,
     dancing circles at the crumbling gap…
          asking air for answers…
                coward’s cry for sympathy…
Then why the struggle through the thorns
to see this awesome view again?
If you didn’t plan to jump.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Friday shootout - Fresh

And I'm running fresh out of time. 

BAGMAN:  "How can you be out of time?!  You're retired?!'

I don't answer him.  But I was going to just skip this post this morning.  I'm also fresh out of ideas or at least any fresh ideas for my header change.   So those of you who really check out my FMSO header on Friday, you can back away from the computer screen.  There is no super-subtle change in the header. 

Hey!  Maybe not changing anything in something I always change IS fresh.

Anyhow (have you editors out there spotted how much I overuse 'anyhow' to start paragraphs?) I'm just going to post a couple of archive (i.e. un-fresh) pictures just so I don't disappear completely from this Friday tradition.

The winter before last we woke to fresh snow,
very rare in coastal South Carolina.
Conner got his first fresh look at a snowman.

A fresh dip in a pool on a hot day during
our trip a few weeks ago to Myrtle Beach.
Also a fresh (an very unbecoming) approach to portraiture.

Also from Myrtle Beach - Fresh bread thrown in the water
brings hungry creatures from above and below.

The new (fresh) experience of swimming for the first time.

A fresh new goose.

And's all folks!

Sunday, July 17, 2011


Jessica chose the theme for today's jam...and I learned about it on Saturday night before going to bed.  The next thing I knew I was lying in bed wide awake and ironically trying to write a poem about insomnia.  So here it is.  Maybe I can sleep now.

I sleep like a dog
which is to say
I wake up wagging
if anyone enters the room
or there is the chance
of a treat or a walk
or a rub of the belly.

But the moment I'm left alone
I turn around, curl up
and instantly fall asleep
with my left foot quivering.

So why am I now
alone in the empty house
staring at the ceiling fan?

And why are you here in my mind
making me want to chase my tail
even when you're miles away?

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Friday Shootout - The Letter B

In Charleston or Mount Pleasant which is next door to Charleston and where we live, "B" is for Boats.  With water everywhere, many people own them.  We even bought one ourselves the second year after we moved down here.  I rapidly discovered that I was the most inept boat owner in the world.  The first time out I forgot to plug in the drain plug and almost sunk it.   Second time out, I ran it aground on a sandbar.  I soon gave up my dream of relaxing afternoons on the water and by the end of a month, my doctor prescribed Lipitor for my high blood pressure.  The second month we sold it at a loss.  I guess "B" also stands for "Bad Investments."

"B" also stands for "Business Boats"

And the Ravenel Bridge

Suddenly the door slams open and Bagman and Butler are standing in front of me livid with anger.

BAGMAN:  "How dare you start a shootout without involving us!!!

BUTLER: "And you do realize that the word "livid" comes from Indo-European roots meaning "bluish."

BAGMAN:  "And what's with the stupid boat story and pictures of boats and bridges?!   You should start out with pictures of US!!!  Our names both start with "B" you ungrateful sod!

"Hold on," I begin (since begin also starts with B).  "I'd love to show pictures of you but haven't you guys realized by now that you are figments of my imagination?"
BUTLER:  "We are far more than figments!  We are integral parts of your personality."

"Yes, but you also do not reflect light...hence portraits are impossible."

BUTLER:  "You could impersonate us!  Put on costumes and do self-portaits of yourself as us."

I stare a Butler for a long time.  Although he does not actually reflect light, I can see him clearly.  "I'm sorry, Butler, but I'm not going to spend money renting a tuxedo ."

BAGMAN: "But how about ME!  You wouldn't need any clothes at all!  My fans are dying to see me naked!"

"Not a chance, Bagman.  I only know of one person who might enjoy that but every other person on the planet would shun me for life.  And it wouldn't be pretty!"

BAGMAN:  "Well if you are going to do a "B" shot without pictures of us than we're leaving!"

They stomp out and the door BANGS shut behind them.  


So I get back to work, but it isn't as much fun without Butler and Bagman. 


BUTLER (Shouting behind the closed door): "You could have borrowed one of their tuxedos!"




There was a story behind this broken abandoned crane...a story of Bankrupcy but I already told it earlier this week. 
BUZZARD - We have a ton of these in our subdivision.
Maybe it is a sign we should move.

BLUE ANGELS came to Charleston last year

(I actually thought this was a BLACK widow last year when I stalked it -
until Tabor pointed out the correct species to me).




BOTTLE of water - It's been hot here recently



I'm running out of things to post and thinking I should go and apologize to my two alter ego figments when the door opens and Bagman sticks his head in.  

BAGMAN:  "Remember when we left in the beginning of this blog and the door slammed behind us?"
"Yes," I reply cautiously. 

BAGMAN:  "Don't you get it?  Behind us!  I slammed BEHIND us!"

"Where are you going with this?"  I ask suddenly wishing Butler were here to protect me from what Bagman might have up his sleeve.

BAGMAN:  "What would a "B" shoot be without that picture of a behind?"

"It would remain a G-rated B shoot," I reply, starting to talk in letters of the alphabet. 

BAGMAN:  "I'm posting it!  Butler's not here to stop me!"

"You can't!"  I scream.  "I don't want anybody to think I took a picture like that!  It's unseemly!"

BAGMAN: "Unseemly!  What kind of nerd uses words like that?!  I'm posting it no matter what you say!  You want people to think you no longer have any testosterone at all left in that 65-year-old overweight carcass?  Be a man!"

I'm fighting Bagman for control of  Blogspot.  I lose control when he elbows me in the eye which explains the BLACK EYE in the header.   "Anyhow, you made me take that picture!  I deny any responsibility for it!"

Bagman just laughs, pushes the post button and leaves the room, closing the door BEHIND him.

(Well - they are common on our public beaches)

I yell one more protest as the closed door, "But I didn't want to post that one!"

BAGMAN (yelling back from behind the door):  "But!  I made you say BUT!!!   Nyah nyah nyah!"

I just sigh with resignation.  Bagman is so infantile sometimes. 

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Yard of the Month

One would think that someone who could afford a house like this
could also afford a lawn service...

I wonder if anyone is home.

And as Whatshisname used to say on the radio -- "Now for the rest of the story."   (What was his name?  I'm sure it will come to me in the middle of the night.)

I was going to save this for "Broken" which starts with "B" on Friday...

BUTLER:  "Broken starts with B on the other days of the week too, you know."

Yeah yeah, grammer grammer.  B is Friday's shootout theme.  And Barefoot Landing (which also starts with B)...

BUTLER:  "And L."

...was where we stayed in Myrtle Beach for our vacation.  From Route 17 it is a beautiful looking resort with shops and condos and pools...and several sub-divisions of beautiful large houses, but as we explored around the place where we stayed, we discovered a strange periphery.   There were acres of grown-over land with hundreds of numbered stakes marking plots for development.  

Clearly the original developers of Barefoot Landing had imaginations bigger than their pocketbooks and ran out of money at a certain point.  The house above and a few others like it on the edge of bankrupt geography became worthless. 

And, like Atlantis, the end appeared to have come pretty suddenly. 

I can imagine the day when the operator of this crane simply took his lunchpail and walked away. 

Saturday, July 9, 2011


Being on vacation and too brain-dead chasing toddlers in swimming pools to write poetry, I thought I would miss this week but when I saw the theme for the Monday Jam was "sports" an old poem from 2008 came to mind.  I apologize for continuing to ransack my archives but I think I used to actually write poems back then and I'm discovering that I have a real insecurity about getting back in the game.

I sometimes wonder these days if I have anything left to say.  But I suppose I will surprise myself.  I think I used to wonder the same thing in 2008.  I guess it is always a surprise.  You look in the empty room of your brain and nothing is there -- but if you relax and keep looking things begin to appear.  Magic. 

Anyhow, here is my sports oriented poem --

     Fourth and Inches

Why is everything, now, fourth and inches,
from planning dinner on the phone
to sitting on the couch, our legs almost touching,
watching the evening news.

Whoever has the ball, predictably,
will take it up the middle
against a goal line stand of determined eyes
behind a face masked in steel,
legs churning mud that only grows deeper
with each collision, which might be sport
except we wear no pads
and bleed too much behind the scars. 

It might make sense
if either of us lined up near a goal
instead of the middle of the field,
or if a yard of mud had any worth,
or if we had not once
been on the same team.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Missing from Shootout and Jam

Just a placeholder blog. 

Myrtle Beach is fun, lots of photos to go through and edit when I get home including one which had large and small in it that would fit in this weeks scavenger hunt but I can't download or edit RAW files on the I may do a delayed entry.   I brought a paper and pencil notebook to write poetry but have actually just been chasing kids and nappping and never opened it.

I don't usually do vacations really well but this is pretty good...excellent for grinchy me.  Also add to call it a vacation when I am no longer working. 

Bottom line is that I'm having a great time but looking forward to getting home and back into the routine.

And being able to change my header back to normal.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Pick your identity

Since I will be on vacation next week, I'll pre-post this somewhat whiney blog to magically appear around Wednesday.

I understand that Blogspot is trying to reach out and get viewers and commenters from other programs but I've noticed in the last several weeks that posting a comment is not as easy as it used to be.  I used to knock out my comment, choose to post as Mark, Butler and Bagman, and hit the send button.  Sometimes I have to type in the silly meaningless and sometimes evocative "word" to prove that I am a living person instead of an automated piece of spam.

But now, more and more, I have to chose which identity to use -- Live ID, Google Account, AIM, URL, etc.  

What is often frustrating is that my first inclination is to try and be mygoogleself.  So I type in my ID and password.  Sometimes nothing happens.  Sometimes I lose my original comment.  And sometimes, instead of appearing as my-google-self my comment starts off with "Anonymous said" -- how will they know it is me? 

Sometimes, after trying two or three times to post a comment, I just give up.  

Whine whine whine.

Monday, July 4, 2011



I picked these flowers

to place at your feet

in penance for my lewd

self-centered thoughts,

which brings no solace

to the flowers


under your toes,

never knowing why

they’re suddenly incomplete.