Dracula’s Benign Companion

4″ x 6″ linocut on card stock with
black, water soluble, Speedball ink.

Poetry Becomes Philosophy

Ezra Pound has triumphed after all. That
crazy old man and his syncopating fans
succeeded when the rhetoric of guns
and communism failed. The Shining Path
has not been taken. The revolution
succeeded after all. Rabbi Ezra
has led the chosen through the wilderness
and gained the promised land for everyone.
The proletariat has risen in
their might; confronting Dimsdales with their “P’s.”
Their flood has fertilized the literature
and now the modern poet, Everyman;
eschews confining meter, scansion, rime.
That hoary frost has melted and it’s Spring!
The fleurs du mal are blooming. It is time
to discard faded glories. Hail the king!

The Saber-toothed Rose

I get dozens of gardening catalogues in the mail, and every one of them is full of beautiful roses guaranteed to grow in the most inhospitable environment. It seems like there are hundreds of roses developed each year, and each year the new roses are touted as being better, more gorgeous, more heavenly scented, and more trouble free than any rose has ever been. Multifarious rose societies have spent uncountable man-hours developing the perfect rose. Tens of millions of dollars have been spent by commercial nurseries such as Armstrong Nursery, Jackson and Perkins, The Monrovia Nursery, and Harry and David. And still, no one has come close to developing a rose that is deer proof and gopher proof.

As a result, instead of the beautiful roses that are displayed in the catalogues, what I get are the decimated leftovers from the midnight feasts of marauding deer and the underground attacks of the pocket gophers. It is time to develop a rose that will fight back. Instead of being attacked by gophers and deer, what is needed is a rose bush that will stand up for itself and attack the attackers. What is needed is a rose with attitude, a rose capable of defending itself. We need a housebroken, saber-toothed rose to arise like a phoenix from the dead, broken remains of the coddled, romanticized beauties sold in the catalogues.

This 4″ x 6″ solarplate etching began life as a charcoal drawing. It was printed on Lenox paper with black, Daniel Smith ink. Posted by Picasa

The Promise of Spring

5″ x 7″
Linocut printed with black, water-soluble, Speedball ink.

Spring is a time of waiting. It is not only a time when a young man’s fancy turns to thoughts of love, or a time of re birth and regeneration. It is a time of uncertainty and despair. In e.e. cummings’ poem, “in Just spring,” it is a time where childhood and sexual maturity meet in that murky time where innocence will be transformed by a balloonman who becomes a goat-footed Pan enticing the children from their games of marbles and hopscotch. For T.S. Eliot, this the cruelest time of the year because it breeds hope in a land devoid of hope.

And yet spring has always brought with it a sense of renewal, a belief the hardships caused by winter can be forgotten, and a hope that the promise of a better life ahead will be fulfilled.

In this image, Spring has arrived, but the promise of Spring has not yet been fulfilled. There is a riot of grasses and flowers in the foreground, but the tree is still bare, and the sky is empty of life.

On the Mendecino Coast

A tangled wildness was choking out
the Iceland poppies she had set in rows
along the peeling, yellow picket fence.
She sat beneath the tree and thought about
the years she’d fought those weeds and all the hoes
she’d bought. Whatever for? If she’d the sense
of weeds and worms, she would have left them all
alone and saved herself the work. With him,
she could have sat beneath that weeping oak
and watched those wild weeds grow strong and tall
each spring and ripen in the summer. Tim
could laugh away the world. It was a joke
to him and he could laugh at everything
the world contained. He’d laugh at her out there
with dirty hands and knees and she would yell,
“You’re good for nothing. That you are.” and fling
a clod of dirt at him. He didn’t care
if he was hit, but if he was he’d tell
her, “For a little gal, you’ve quite an arm.”
and they would banter back and forth and then
he’d smile and call her something special and
it wouldn’t matter what he did. What harm
was there in all his life? It’s just, some men,
aren’t meant to be a rock. Some men are sand.
Posted by Picasa

The Naked Maja

9″ x 12″ charcoal sketch

The alcove hidden underneath the stair
was now her home. She’d placed a narrow bed
against the kitchen wall and she would sleep
surrounded by her mirrors. Daddy took

the picture. They were staying at the beach

the day she would have graduated. She’s
reclining on a beach towel with her right
hand shading out the sun. “You’ve got the air
of Madame Fauntleroy,” her father said,
“and carry on with every no good creep.
You got to settle down; become a cook,
or something steady, sure.” She held a peach
between her teeth and grinned at him. The trees
behind her held their future. “We just might
be in the clear this year. If we take care
of them, they’ll care for us. Just tilt your head
a little to the side. You are too deep
in shadow. Catch the sun.” It seemed a hook
would always jerk the future from her reach
when it was in her grasp. A late Spring freeze
destroyed the crop. She quickly stole a bite
of cheesecake and she giggled. Would he dare
to tell her once again she moved her head?
She’d laughed and threatened, “Take a flying leap!
I’ll eat or you can paint another. Look,
you know the meaning of the phrase, ‘To each
his own?'” She laughed at him. The Summer breeze
was soft on naked skin, and in that light
she felt resplendent. Pinning up her hair
for bed, she listened while her husband fed
himself and climbed the stairs. She pushed a heap
of unwashed clothes, her curling iron and book
on to the floor. Too bad you couldn’t teach
me Daddy. Guess I just can’t seem to please
anyone. Good night my dear, good night. Posted by Picasa