Survivor’s Luck

Survivor’s Luck

When I was a baby I had my mama,
and she was sweet and loves me still.
When I was a boy I had my toys
and I played with them till all were gone.
When I was a lad I had my dreams
of sleek cars and voluptuous girls.
When I was a young man
I worked to make the lad’s dreams real,
and though the cars were pudgy
and the women complicated,
moments of dreaming did become true.
When I was a working man I had pride in success
and fulfillment in shouldering society.
When I was a thinking man I knew
my only real successes were those nobody saw,
and that society is a boneyard of illusions
and an anthill of acquisition.
When I was a redundant man
I had irrelevant wisdom
and near perfect invisibility,
and, boy, was I ever stupid!
I was filled with memories
and occupied nearly none.
When they told me I was an old man:
I still felt like a working man
who wanted to save the world;
I still felt like a lad
who could delight in adventure and romance,
though now such dreams are only nostalgia
instead of heated anticipation;
I still felt like a boy
who wanted to play with intriguing toys;
And I have the luck of a baby
whose sweet mother loves him still.

30 August 2016

Pins In Fermented Lemonade (an unpoetic poem)

Pins In Fermented Lemonade (an unpoetic poem)

Religion is a thinking disorder, a brain disease.

Capitalism is a sociopathic disorder, a soul disease.

The World Crisis is simultaneous epidemics of religion and capitalism.

Evolution has brought humanity to the point of being intelligent enough
to realize it is the cause of climate change,
but not intelligent enough
to change its behavior to prevent it.

There are only two ways to make money as an artist:
establish a personality cult
so your productions have a reliable paying audience,
or be a decorator
who panders to popular tastes.

An entertainer is a decorator of time
who distracts an audience from its normal boredom.

Most people are self-limiting,
and they resent help that criticizes those limits.
Most people are self-limiting,
and crave co-dependents comforting them in self-defeat.

Acquaintances value you to the extent you contribute to their entertainment
or ambitions.
Friends value you for who you are.
As time goes on:
you recognize more of your friends as acquaintances,
and fewer of your acquaintances as friends.
An old grouch can be a person conserving their energy and contentment
by driving off all acquaintances,
and holding onto one, maybe two, true friends
who sometimes are people.

26 August 2016

To Importuning Hillary Clinton Partisans

1. A Feminist Apology for the Presidential Ascension of Hillary Clinton

In order to become the supreme authority of a corrupt society it is necessary to be a corrupt individual. It is sexist to criticize Hillary Clinton for succeeding in that ambition, because such criticism is sour grapes by those who resent a woman outdoing men at their own game.

Hillary Clinton is the icon of a successful woman that many millions wish to emulate. To denigrate Hillary Clinton is sexist because it denigrates, by association, those women who live vicariously through her, and who follow her examples of attitude and behavior in their own efforts to increase feminine participation in the elite circles of wealth and power.

To criticize Hillary Clinton for being untruthful is hypocritical because it is a principle of our society that you can not rely on honesty to insure success. If you tell people the complete truth they are most likely to act on it in their own best interests. But, their best interests are not necessarily in your best interests, and that jeopardizes your chances of manipulating things to turn out the way you want them to turn out.

In our society, no public campaign for financial gain and career promotion can rely for success on factual honesty and transparency. The public understands and embraces this principle in their own lives, which is why we have the society we do. To criticize a woman, Hillary Clinton, for recognizing this societal truth, and masterfully outdoing men in its use, is both hypocritical and sexist.

2. My Response to Importuning Hillary Clinton Partisans

There are three valid reasons to vote for Hillary Clinton:
1. your personal gain,
2. to help advance Hillary Clinton’s career and personal gain,
3. because you share Hillary Clinton’s values.

The paragraph above also applies to Donald Trump, if you substitute his name for that of Hillary Clinton.

There is one invalid reason to vote for Hillary Clinton – fear:
you dread the alternatives to Hillary Clinton over any catastrophe she could possibly cause.

This last reason is invalid because it is illogical, being a fearful emotional reaction of avoidance rather than a positive vote “for” something in the way of policy and character. This reaction would allow for fallacious justifications like: “I’d rather have Hillary Clinton start the next nuclear war than let Donald Trump do it!”

Again, this invalid reason could be used by Trump voters who cast Hillary Clinton as the greater evil.

One red herring fear thrown out by both Democratic and Republican partisans is that the opposing party’s candidates for the Supreme Court would undermine the pet social agenda items of “their” voters. This doesn’t matter. The purpose of the Supreme Court is to protect capital and property from popular democracy. People are chosen as Supreme Court judges – by either party – with this purpose in mind. The biases of the Supreme Court judges can always be overcome by popularly backed legislative majorities, ultimately by Constitutional Amendments. The only sure way to protect “your” social agenda items is from the bottom up: get enough of your countrymen and countrywomen to also believe in them, and enshrine them in law by overwhelming votes. There is no reliable Big Daddy for the protection of social attitudes.

Another fallacious guilt trip thrown out by Hillary Clinton faithful to Bernie Sanders voters, and Jill Stein voters, is that by “not voting” for Hillary we “are voting for” Donald Trump. Hogwash, of course. Had the Democratic Party really been concerned about beating Donald Trump in the November election they would have nominated Bernie Sanders, who is heavily favored over Donald in just about every electoral district, and in every single poll taken on that question (still). But, the Democratic Party regulars and the Clinton faithful are far more concerned about preserving their own situations of personal gain, and they did not want to “lose control” of the Democratic Party to the “popular will” (Jean-Jacques Rousseau) for the good of the country.

If Donald Trump does actually win the November election it will be because of all the Democratic Party regulars and Clinton faithful, who “voted for him” by late July, by voting for Hillary instead of Bernie: that is to say by rigging the voting processes, and collusion with corporate media to sabotage the Sanders campaign, in addition to simply casting their votes for Hillary during the primary elections and at the Democratic Party convention. The best hope for Clinton’s election is currently being provided by Donald Trump’s obvious sabotage of his own campaign.

In my case, there is no valid reason to vote for Hillary Clinton, and I reject the invalid reason. Similarly, there are no valid nor invalid reasons for me to vote for Donald Trump.

I will vote for Jill Stein and the Green Party because they reflect my values as regards public policy and as regards honesty, integrity and character. This is the same reason I supported Bernie Sanders. Similarly, I will only vote for Democratic Party candidates who supported Bernie Sanders during the primary season, and who now campaign on his public policy agenda, and who have not endorsed Hillary Clinton (mainly new folks).

It is not necessary for me to criticize the logic (actually, lack of logic) of people who continue to support Hillary Clinton, or Donald Trump, because that would be futile. Whatever the outcome of the election in November, and whatever the course of events during the next presidential administration, these people are guaranteed to rationalize (fantasize) their way into preserving their bubble visions of their chosen personality cults and the ideologies and biases associated with them. This has certainly been the case with too many of Bill Clinton’s, George W. Bush’s, and Barack Obama’s voters. I’m done with such people.

“I’d rather vote for what I want and not get it, than vote for what I don’t want and get it.”

Two Love Poems

My beautiful picture

Love at Dawn

I still can feel your dawn-window eyes
as I walk through this night,
and I still can smell your long, dark hair
softly catching the light.
The sweet taste of your tender lips
I still can savor with care,
and the warming voice of your soft, soft skin
still glides upon my face.
I still can feel your dawn-window eyes
as I walk through this night,
this night though but a wisp of the past
is an eternal delight.

7 October 1969


Letter to a Forgotten Lover

Friday afternoon.
Sunlight filters through still air,
October leaves glow with Indian Summer.
Walls muffle voices in adjoining rooms,
the relentless, ocean-like pounding of distant freeways
and the ebbing wail of sky-high turbojets.
In my room – still air.
Connected by the open window
to the last full-bodied outdoor caress of the season,
I float far off
on the subtle airs of the dream of memory.
That last weekday afternoon of preselected obligation,
those last few hours of conscious productivity
before slipping into the dream surpassing all dreaming –
a weekend celebration of being with you.
I can still smell the crisp, moisture-laden air
in the oak and maple groves, and wild lawns
along hypnotic Bring More Brook,
that fluid rippling babble of melted sparkle.
How we loved to swim in each others eyes,
to soar through each others hearts
on peaceful October summer days,
sipping wine and kisses by the brook.
We would run and frolic,
laugh and horse,
and spill through the meadow like a rolling stream.
Yes, and we would walk quietly through the wood,
our brimming love enfolding that endless moment.
It was only a scant lifetime of hours ago
that we had sailed through the razzle-dazzle high-jinx
of an artful Friday night.
We had seen,
we had eaten,
we had been
and we had known – together,
how many things?

Wine and cider,
smokes and film,
sidewalks and city lights,
music and motion,
talk of poems and poems of touch,
glistening eyes suspending breathless starlight.
Wake up, wake up, I want another kiss.
The dream has broken, I want another kiss.
Long palms stroke your smooth sleeping warmth.
Wake up the feeling that glides through my hands.
I want another kiss, another kiss.
I want to cover you with love.
I want to soak in that abyss.
Wake up and blend into the dream.
Wake open, mouth, and draw me in,
another kiss, another kiss.
Endless, endless, endless – where has it all gone?
It was so easy to flood with emotion
and forget all but feeling the real.
The imprint of that moment
leaves a trace, sharper today,
than these garish superficial
grown-up gainful days.
Dream in defiance or dream in regret,
dream on the loving – forget all the rest.
Dream on her sunlight, her moisture and breath,
dream on regardless, as lovers forget.
Dream on the wind streaming the leaves,
dream on your living, endless and free.
Dream on.

9 October 1983

A Secret Rendez-Vous

A Secret Rendez-Vous

He was unfaithful again.
He’d run off secretly to the café
for a cappuccino and a short sojourn
watching the light sparkle off passing cars,
and frame the bouncing bobs of laughing girls
flittering along in their bubbles of mirth,
or in serious self-absorption
like the men marching determinedly,
plowing their self-importance forward
into the vast indifferent world.
But, fortunately, there was the light
and the freshness of mid-morning
to add effulgence to the cappuccino foam.
Ah, but all too soon the time came
to trudge back to the family job
of husband and father,
leading his loved ones to their food
and away from their fears,
absorbing their complaints
and appreciating their dreams.
He would be careful to keep his mistress secret,
if he could,
for poetry was really too elegant for him anyway,
even though he did enjoy her company
in secret rendez-vous on fair mid-mornings
of drifting along a lazy river of thoughts,
with cappuccino.

16 August 2016

En el juego de la vida — Español-English

Daniel Santos (1916-1992) with Sonora Matancera (1948)

En el juego de la vida
juega el grande y juega el chico,
juega el blanco y juega el negro,
juega el pobre y juega el rico.

En el juego de la vida
nada te vale la suerte
porque al fin de la partida
gana el albur de la muerte.

Juega con tus cartas limpias
en el juego de la vida,
al morír nada te llevas,
viva y deja que otros vivan.

Cuatro puertas hay abiertas
al que no tiene dinero:
el hospitál y la carcel,
la iglesia y el cementerio.


In the game of life you’ll find that
play the big guys and the little fish,
play the white and play the black,
play the poor and play the rich.

In the game of life you’ll find that
all your luck will have been worthless
because at every game’s end
the only pot to win are death’s chips.

With unmarked cards keep playing
in the gamble of your lifetime
for at death you will take nothing,
so just live and then let live.

Fours doors are always open
to those who have no money:
the hospital and jailhouse,
the church and cemetery.


Dos Gardenias — Español-English

Red Rose White Rose

Dos Gardenias is a bolero written by the Cuban composer Isolina Carrillo Estrada (1907-1996) in 1947. Dos Gardenias is a timeless song, inspiring performers, recording artists and audiences to this day.

Isolina Carrillo (1907-1996)

Dos Gardenias
(Isolina Carrillo)

Dos gardenias para ti
con ellas quiero decir
te quiero,
te adoro,
mi vida
ponles toda tu atención
porque son tu corazón
y el mío

Dos gardenias para ti
que tendrán todo el calor
de un beso
de esos besos que te di
y que jamás encontrarás
en el calor de otro querer

A tu lado vivirán
y te hablarán
como cuando estás conmigo
y hasta creerás
que te dirán
te quiero

Pero si un atardecer
las gardenias de mi amor
se mueren
es porque han adivinado
que tu amor me ha traicionado
porque existe otro querer.


Two Gardenias
(Isolina Carrillo)

Two gardenias here for you
with them I’m trying to say
I love you,
adore you,
my darling
guard them very carefully
because they are your heart
and my heart.

Two gardenias here for you
that hold all of the warmth
of love’s kiss,
of those kisses that I gave you
and of which you’ll never find in
passion’s heat from other loves.

By your side these blooms will live
and speak to you
just as when you’re with me,
and you’ll even believe
they are saying:
I love you.

But if some darkening day
the gardenias of my love
should fall dead
it will be because they sensed
that I have been betrayed
and you have another love.


Daniel Santos – Dos Gardenias
[1940s-1990s, defining, the timelessly sexy Daniel Santos at his best]

Ibrahim Ferrer – Dos Gardenias
[1997, soulful, nostalgic, sparked the revival]

Antonio Machín – Dos Gardenias
[1950s-1970s, such a fluid velvety sound, with such clear diction]

Lucrecia – Dos Gardenias
[1996, sultry Cuban jazz version, then a montuno!, soul with youthful energy]

Leo Marini – Dos Gardenias
[1940s-1980s, a tango-flavored version with an Argentine singer]

Sole Giménez – Dos Gardenias
[2012, pure smooth jazz night club version, agile singing and swinging cats playing]

Isabel Pantoja – Dos Gardenias
[2013, a smokey torch-song version, with jazz combo and strings, as if back in Rick’s Café Americain in Casablanca in 1942]

Victoria Sur – Dos Gardenias
[2013, lovely voice, excellent band, but I dislike the combination of the traditional ballad-style singing with the modern-spacey-electronic-jazz-rock band music. For me, there is too much music-school technique for show and not enough in service to the spirit of the song. But, all the ingredients here are of high quality, and of youthful vigor, so many should enjoy this, and these musicians certainly have the stuff of making long and artful careers. Finally, I appreciate that they published the lyrics in the notes accompanying the music video.]


The photos are actually of roses. Gardenias look similar.

Veinte Años — Español-English

Young Woman, Windblown

Veinte Años is an habanera style song written and premiered in 1935 by María Teresa Vera (1895-1965), with lyrics by Guillermina Aramburu. It is one of the eternal classics of Cuban music, being specifically a work of trova, which is troubadour music written for guitar and voice, and originally performed by duos, trios and small ensembles. Veinte Años has been very widely performed and recorded since 1935, no doubt because the song is so beautiful that it perennially inspires people all over the world.

María Teresa Vera (1895-1965)

Maria Teresa Vera – Veinte Años
[habanera, con letra de Guillermina Aramburu, 1935]

Veinte Años

Qué te importa que te ame
si tú no me quieres ya.
El amor que ya ha pasado
no se debe recordar.

Fui la ilusión de tu vida
un día lejano ya,
hoy represento el pasado,
no me puedo conformar.

Si las cosas que uno quiere
se pudieran alcanzar
tú me quisieras lo mismo
que veinte años atrás.

Con qué tristeza miramos
un amor que se nos va,
es un pedazo del alma
que se arranca sin piedad.


Twenty Years

What’s it matter that I love you
if you no longer care for me.
The love that passed between us
is a long lost memory.

It was me that you once lived for
in distant yesterdays.
I’m your forgotten past now,
it can be no other way.

If the things that one could wish for
were all possible to know,
you would still love me the same as
you did twenty years ago.

With what sadness we look back on
hopes of love never to be,
it is a piece of my heart that’s
been ripped out so piteously.


Veinte años (Twenty Years) – María Teresa Vera (Subt. en Español & English)
[subtitles in both Spanish and English, same recording as one above]

El Trovador Codina – Veinte Años

Barbarito Díez – Veinte años

Los Guaracheros de Oriente – Veinte años

Irene Atienza e Douglas Lora (Veinte Años) no Programa Casa do Som
[From Brazil, 2016, very sweet guitar playing, very rich dusky singing.]

Veinte Años (Live, CA)
[From California, 2015, very delicate and tasteful recreation of 1930’s feeling by a trio]

Veinte Años: Jorge & Marc (gonzj49 & dartfrog99)
[From USA, 2010, beautiful guitar duet with voice; an internet combo.]

Maykel’s Quartet – Veinte años (Variaciones 24-09-2011)
[virtuoso variations on a tres]

Veinte años [todos!]
[public singing!]

Buena Vista Social Club – Veinte Años (La Habana)
[1997, Omara Portuondo and Compay Segundo sing, Eliades Ochoa first guitar]


Two Martial Arts Poems

A Martial Artist Circles

Wind — the moving,
stone — a resting,
fluid — when shifting,
light — the seeing.
Mastery, a
channel, a
presence —
awareness alive.
Eternity sparking,
instant everlasting —
you in mind
envisioning all.

All envisioning
mind in you —
everlasting instant,
sparking eternity.
Alive awareness —
a channel,
a mastery.
Seeing — the light,
shifting — when fluid,
resting — a stone,
moving — the wind.

19 October 2002


A Diffusion of Trajectory

I am petrified in wonder —
the unfathomable depth,
the limitless scope —
this moment.
Light bleeds from pores in air,
evaporating to heat.
Mindless one-pointed arrows
flying through space,
racing against time,
one, in the desiring instant,
with goals fixed, focused, mere points.
A hail of arrows, uncountable, cross each other
coring a vanishing fraction of now,
burying their points in pain, success, obscurity,
oblivious of the sun in stone, the soul of space —

Themselves —
oblivious of the sun in stone, the soul of space,
burying their points in pain, success, obscurity,
coring a vanishing fraction of now,
a hail of arrows, uncountable, cross each other.
With goals fixed, focused, mere points,
one, in the desiring instant,
racing against time,
flying through space,
mindless one-pointed arrows.
Evaporating to heat,
light bleeds from pores in air.
This moment —
the limitless scope,
the unfathomable depth —
I am petrified in wonder.

14 October 2002

Parent Graduation

Parent Graduation

There come times in children’s lives
when they stop listening to parents,
and when they mature.
A parent is lucky if maturation happens first,
but there are no guarantees.
I can now state with confidence:
all my children are unmoored from my credibility.
For me, parenting is done,
it’s just patient listening now.

5 August 2016