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JadeEast

The desk and the almost empty bottle of Jade East cologne have been with me since I lived with my parents and brother Bill at 2016 S. Whittier. I also have  a bedroom chest of drawers that has been mine since about 1962, a ceramic cookie jar — for real cookies; not ceramic cookies —  and some plain, large white cotton towels for drying dishes I remember from earliest youth at least since 1955 when I was about eight years old and began helping with kitchen chores. The Jade East is on a shelf in my home office where I see it every day. For decades it was almost forgotten, unseen, usually in the bottom drawer of the same chest of drawers that has accompanied me since I first moved away from 2016 in about 1968.

Today the Jade East is with me like memories of first dates, sock hops at Benjamin Franklin Junior High and driving lessons, I know I wore it when Joyce Mitchell and I attended my senior prom in May,  1965. Sometimes I take the cap off and put the bottle close to my nose to inhale the scent. As I grew older, I “graduated” to other colognes: Brut, English Leather. A minor “event” in my life was a Christmas when, after hearing and reading so much about English Leather,  before buying a bottle for me, I bought a  bottle for my father and gave it to him — gift wrapped of course — on the big morning and he liked it. I was delighted and proud watching his reaction. He was a tough occasion, especially after puberty “blossomed” me into a conniving malcontent.  Before buying English ‘ for myself, I often “borrowed”  some of his from the top of the tall chest of drawers he shared with mom. He had the upper three drawers, and mom had the lower three.

Dad was always an Old Spice aftershave man, but I never took to it. Betwen Saturday night splaches of English and later, Jade East, I was strictly Aqua Velva. “There’s something about an Aqua Velva man.” the TV commercials claimed.  When dad died in 1994, he had a partly consumed bottle of Old Spice in his bathroom medicine cabinet. That bottle now graces my bathroom’s medicine cabinet, occasionally opened and sniffed, but never “worn.”

As my teen years continued, cologne was a “wear it every day” part of my life for the longest time, even through college my early 30s. One girlfriend along the way LOOOOOOOVED Canoe (cologne) so for about one bottle, about the duration of our relationship, I wore Canoe.  There was one cologne —  maybe English Leather — that had s smiling, sultry temptress looking right into the camera and saying “All of my men wear ______ or they wear nothing at all.” Cologne was an essential when sharing soft companionship through my 40s, but since then, solo or duo — solo for the last 10 years or so —  it’s been generic drugstore aftershave.

I’m okay with that. I’ve noticed in recent years that the green bottles of Brut are the only “cologne” I see on grocery store shelves, which is where I shop for fragrance enhancements. All the rest are Skin Bracers and after shaves.  I used to shop for cologne at department stores and high-end drug stores. I know they’re still around, but I can’t remember the last time I entered a “department store.” . . . wait a second . . . . YES I can. J.C. Penney is my department store of record. I buy most of my clothes there.  I don’t know if they carry mens’ cologne. I should browse more on my next visit. Who knows? In my current lingering coda to this dimension, a little “mad money” dropped on fragrance enhancements” night be fun.

Maybe they have Jade East.

—- Live long . . . . . .  and proper.

Three Passing Paranoias

Fear is not necessarily a bad thing, though it seems so when it visits the heart. It keeps a person motivated, one step ahead of the lion. Times wasted on false fears are wasted times. That fact of life came clear to me recently.

PARANOIA ONE
. . . . . . . . . .In July I decided to move a sturdy, relatively small rotating rack for hanging hangared  clothes from the laundry room to my bed room. It had been in my home since I bought it. I was using a more conventional braced bar for hanging clothes fresh out of the dryer to settle and finish drying, and the rotary arrangement in my bedroom would allow me to place attire planned for wearing the next morning in easy reach when I’d be in a rush to dash into the new day. Days later as a load of dirty duds agitated merrily in the Kenmore (so to speak), I decided to move the rack to my bed room. Only one problem: I could not find it. I looked everywhere in the basement. I even looked into corners in my bedroom.  Heck, maybe I had brought it up and forgotten about it already. I was totally stymied.

Flashback to January 2012 in the days following my fall from slipping on ice on my front porch and the surgery that returned my separated upper quad tendons to my kneecaps where God had intended them to be. Some wonderful friends spent a lot of time and labor (after one picked up my house key from me at the hospital) arranging furniture,  moving my bed from my bedroom to the living room, closer to the television and La-Z-Boy, so I could better respond to visitors and ambulate to and from kitchen with my lower extremities “caged” in full leg braces during a period of critical in-home recuperation. This July, more than a year later, it occurred to me that maybe one of my friends had taken a liking to my rotary clothes rack in the basement and “liberated it.” Of course, I made no mention of my suspicion to my friends. They had truly proven their friendship and saved my bacon in early 2012. I don’t know how I would have made such an astounding recovery without them. Still I wondered, silently; didn’t feel angry, just sad, and I missed the clothes rack.Job4287.14-3

Job4287.14-2About a week ago, I was removing the last vestiges of my aviation collection from the basement, preparing to take it out to the airport museum when I stopped in my tracks in a seldom-visited part of the laundry area  . . . and found myself staring at my rotating clothes rack precisely where I had put it probably three years ago! Funny thing is I decided to leave it in the basement; no need to bring it to my bedroom after all. But if I change my mind I will durn-sure remember where it is!

PARANOIA TWO
. . . . . . . . . . .Soon after my father died in December 1994, I discovered a colorful sport coat in his closet. It was a perfect fit for me, and I began wearing it to events where I recited poetry and played guitar. People complimented me about it, asked me about it.  I’ve always felt that “the Entertainer” engaged for an occasion should not be mistaken for “the Caterer” or “the Furnace Repair Technician.” So the “amazing Technicolor sport coat” served me well. . . that is until it disappeared. I had played some songs and recited some poetry at a downtown Springfield arts event in July, and hadn’t given a thought to the sport coat until I was asked to play/sing for an Alzheimer’s association fundraising event in late August. When I went to my closet to set it out in the living room a few days before the big event . . . I could not find it! Had I left it downtown? I posted the news that I had lost it and if anyone had seen it to let kn know on Facebook. No one responded. DANG! Suddenly I felt like Sampson must have felt after awakening one fine morning to discover Delilah had shorn his hair from his head; rendered it BALD and him with no power. This was not a major crisis for my performance. Everything went great. BUT it sure “put the kibosh” on my creative writing. I was sad. I missed my sport coat, and that — plus some other unhappy action that relieved me of two friends I had cherished for decades,  convinced me I would never write another poem or song. And I MEANT that. No more poetry or lyrics from me, dammit! Straws that broke my camel’s back? Hell NO! BRICKS and SLINGS and ARROWS and TOIL and TROUBLE that broke my camel’s back!Jobcoat

A few days ago, I found my sport coat under a long winter coat in the corner of my parlor. Result: end of paranoia about my talisman. I still haven’t written a line of new poetry or lyric, but I am blogging more, and that’s a good sign. I am reasonably confident poetry will follow.

PARANOIA THREE

Most recent paranoia . . . A deletable expletive I’ve named 666 who has been a hellish . . . . . . .  .”problem renter” in my upstairs half of my duplex for the past few years,  parted company with the domicile and the lease agreement without giving me 30 days’ notice, leaving me with a vacant and significantly DAMAGED living quarters I must repair and re-rent ASAP. I spent three days following her exit picking up trash and debris from her star-crossed residency, and was ready to spent time a fourth day when I could not find the new keys made for the new locks last Friday. MAJOR SHOCK. I had returned home early Tuesday to work on the place in waning dusk light. For about an hour I looked in every place I could have possibly put the keys.  It also occurred to me that I MIGHT have left them in the front door when  I finished a very productive Sunday upstairs. I IMAGINED that 666 might have returned to the place Monday, found the key in the door gone upstairs (she knew I’d be at work) and further damaged the place, perhaps knocking some holes in the walls, rubbing more excrement into the carpeting and breaking more floor tiles . . . . it was a very unhappy vision, created whole cloth from my paranoid imagination.  A call to the local lock specialist arranged for him to visit the duplex while I was at work and make/install three new locks . . . . .  that is unless I found the keys where I had misplaced them at the aviation museum, I would look and call him if unsuccessful. I looked, was unsuccessful and called him. He said he’d be over in about two hours to change the locks. GREAT. About an hour later, I arrived at my employer and, just to be sure I’d covered all the bases, parked a few spaces away from where I usually park, exited vehicle, started searching the lot  . . . . and FOUND the keys to the vacated upstairs!  I rushed to the phone inside, called the locksmith and cancelled the service call. He was happy and so was I.

Wednesday after work I did some more cleaning upstairs before dark, but before that I attached the upstairs keys to my key chain with the other keys.

WOW! Resolutions to three totally unproductive paranoias within the span of a single week. There are none waiting for resolution now; few significant conflicts either.

It’s nutty being older. My ears are not what they used to be. I hear things only slightly sometimes. I turn at my desk at home and catch the sound of something indistinct. I let it ride. I probably brushed a pen off my desk with a wayfaring elbow. I’ll look later. Maybe it  was an envelope with a bill. I’ll look later. I get out of my pickup truck after arriving at employer and hear something hit the concrete: probably a few pennies fell from my change pocket; not a big deal . . . unless they’re not pennies but keys to the upstairs.

So many of life’s paranoias come from not paying attention. I don’t pay attention because so much of my life doesn’t matter any more. I understand that it should matter more. A re-thinking and re-focusing of my waning expectations of life seems to be called for here.

not that it would matter

Live long . . . . . and proper

Until I repair some real issues with the floor in the duplex upstairs, vacated on one day’s notice by the woman I call 666, I don’t stand a chance renting the duplex. And the weekend has thrown a real speed bump into the momentum I established for one day. I will resume taking pickup truck loads of plastic bags with what she left behind to my employer who gave me permission to put them into his company dumpster. I still haven’t been paid since August and don’t know when I’ll be paid. This sorry state is causing me to do stupid things.

Determined to make a dent in gathering trash and re-usable material yesterday, I worked upstairs longer than I planned. On the way to recite some of my favorite Vachel Lindsay poems as the world approaches Dead Poets Week, I discovered my fuel gauge indicating “running on empty.” Following the morning’s diversion for fuel I made a necessary diversion to the airport museum where I keep my camera. I had planned to be at Lindsay’s grave site close to 11 so I could contemplate the great poet and perhaps, draft a new poem with pen and clipboarded paper I brought. On arrival at Oak Ridge Cemetery, I got lost looking for the Lindsay family plot. I was due to recite, a personal commitment I had made to his memory at noon. There had been some publicity shared by my friend “Chief Falling Leaf” (Walter Skold, a New Englander who created Dead Poets Day and Week; also some from Poets and Writers of Springfield, and I wanted to show up for my own event! Noon came and went. I began looking for parked cars in the distance. Maybe there would be people waiting at the site to hear me. I saw no cars. For almost 30 minutes I drove around what I would have sworn to be  territory where he was buried. The cemetery is very hilly with grave stones all over the place.  I repeated some parts of my search path probably five times in my 10 to 20 mile and hour crawl. I knew I was not seeing every part of the acres, but I didn’t have the presence of mind to find what I had not covered. I even departed the place at its southern gate on Monument Avenue after entering from J. David Jones Parkway to the west. It was obvious the cemetery office was closed so I didn’t even stop to double check. It’s a municipal cemetery. They don’t work weekends. I was embarrassed and ashamed of my failure.  I will never let this happen again.  I will visit the office3 just south of the Monument gate and get a map. I will take pictures at intersections and write directions. Yesterday at 12:25 I gave up and went home CRUSHED.

There was work to do at the vacated duplex. As I dragged myself into my part of the house I felt a slight headache coming on (I almost never get headaches) and I was exhausted and depressed. I lay down for a nap about 12:45 and awakened at 4:10. Instead of feeling refreshed, I felt more of what I felt when I lay down. I had promised some friends I would attend a classical guitar concert with my camera. I emailed the emcee of the event to let him know I would not come. I could not be good company with anyone. I was doing him a favor by not coming.

And so it’s been. Since I don’t have a TV but have discovered lots of aviation and music sites on YouTube, I watched that, sitting in my straight-backed desk chair in my bedroom office. Lots of Jerry Reed, Chet Atkins and aviation . . . . and more aviation. I would have preferred my recliner in front of my broken TV in the living room, but I got by. Ate one of my  Shop N Save salads about 9:oo, read a book a friend had donated to the museum a few weeks ago. Returned to sleep about 11 and awakened today about 4.

I’ve been in no hurry  this morning, but I’ve accomplished a lot.  From the basement to the living room I brought the last of my aviation collection — some built models and the last of the empty kit boxes. I told a friend a few weeks ago, I want to be certain that when I die, no stranger entering my house will ever suppose I had anything to do with airplanes. It’s a strange goal, a little bit crazy, a little bit bitter, but every day this week I will deliver some of it to the airport in my pick up truck “Anne’s” spacious cabin while bags from 666 upstairs ride in the open truck bed in back to be deposited in my employer’s dumpster.

Since visiting the grocer Thursday, I’ve enjoyed something I’ve not savored here for at least two years: cups of Folger’s instant coffee. I’ve enjoyed Folgers at employer and coffee from AeroKnow Museum host Horizon Aviation, but I’ve not spent enough time here at my home in mornings to justify it here. Now that I’m going to be spending less time at the airport until the upstairs is LEASED, coffee in the morning is a minor “positive,” and I’m ready for every positive I can engage.

Another “comin up” deed this morning besides washing every dish encountered in kitchen and dining room: the clocks on my microwave and stove have been blinking “00:00″ since about June when an area power loss worked its way with them. For months I’ve just shrugged my shoulders. After not wearing a watch since about 20o4, last July I bought a cheap watch (less than $20), and I’ve been fine with that. A month ago I even reset the clock on my bedroom clock radio. My living room clock where I never go these days? Well, I’ll get around to that whenever; let’s not go overboard here. Time will pass.  Heck all of us will pass . . . even if we flunk.

It’s 8:45 now. On the desk on my left here at bedroom office are poems and entry forms for a poetry contest for a national stone collecting organization. I’ve been the judge for this contest every year when more than two members have contributed poems to the contest dating back to 1997 or so. The same contest chairman contacts me after a busy summer of “rockhound” activity and the September contest, asks me if I will judge it again, and I always say “yes.” I’m not as prolific a writer these days as I used to be when I had some poet friends in Springfield, but I don’t rely on my glorious better days as a poet in this “hovel that the fools call paradise” (as I sang in one of my poem/songs 15 years ago)  to define me as a “legitimate” poet.  All I need to do that is my conscious will to do so. I will read the poems, judge them and share constructive comments with the authors . . . . . Monday at work. And if I’m not able, I’ll bring it home and finish that Monday night.

By 9:00 a today, I will be working with the upstairs debacle for at least an hour, taking pictures of some items I will later offer for sale. Then out to the airport to process the pictures and work with museum tasks. So far it’s been a “comin’ UP” Sunday, what my friend John McClellan might call “slightly above below average” <— album title of a CD of brilliant guitar players sharing Chet Atkins tunes, he played on and produced.

And you know something, dear readers and/or friends?
I hope  you are having a good day, too!

Live long . . . . . . .  and proper.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The word from my upstairs renter that she would renew her lease with me until next April restored my outlook significantly a few days ago. Today I am — figuratively speaking — lying in a ditch in a pool of my own vomit.

She told me Sunday we could meet Monday after dinner to sign the new lease which I had prepared. We agreed I’d come home early, at 7 pm so we could talk on my front porch.Then she told me one of the showers (upstairs has two) was broken. I told her to arrange to arrange for it to be  fixed on her schedule, and I’d write the check. Then she told me her washing machine was broken and needed me to fix that. I replied that since she owns her washing machine, I was not obligated to pay for its repair, any more than I would pay if her television set broke.

I arrived home at 6:55 and did not see her vehicle, so I Facebook messaged her that if she didn’t respond to my message by 7:30, I’d have to leave to run an errand. She replied a little before 7:30 that Monday night was bad, and I should call her anytime Tuesday after I came home.

Late Tuesday afternoon she messaged me that  a deal on a house she wanted to purchase had come through for her. She would move out  Wednesday and leave her key in my mailbox. I did not respond.  If I could not respond in a positive, constructive way, I did not want to respond at all.  Later she messaged me that she would not be able to completely move out Wednesday and would be glad to pay me for a few more days of being there. WOW. First stabs me in the heart and then ask if she can suck my blood!

I didn’t reply for awhile. I wanted to get some rest and clear my head, and believe it or not, with a little help from my friend “Carlo Rossi” (Burgundy) I did. When I awakened about 1:30 this morning I felt like if there were a train leaving for Chicago in half an hour, I wanted to be UNDER it! I returned to the computer and messaged her that the only way to prevent me from changing the locks October 2 is for her to pay me rent for October. A property owner is entitled to a one month advance notice to vacate, same as any renter. I don’t intend to look for a response until after the conclusion of an event I promised to attend. No reason to change my plans in order to hang around my house and worry about her. She will do what she will.

That’s about all there is to say. I’m exhausted.

Funny thing about vomit — figuratively speaking — you know? There is a time to let it out and a time to suck it up. This is a time to suck it up. . . . . . .

THURSDAY UPDATE
I knew she would be moving Wednesday, and I was in no rush to get home. I had a monthly aviation-connected meeting/cookout to attend. I had committed to a side dish earlier and I needed to be around some sentient beings, so I attended; had a fair time. Untypically, I returned to my museum office, instead of going home and stayed until 9:30 when I departed . . . DREADING what I found. Dealing with a vicious, lying psychopath is tricky business. She was gone, but her porch light was on and front-front door (storm door? the lighter outer door) was open, and it was obvious she was gone, unloading at her new residence and would be returning. I had enjoyed a decent meal, wasn’t hungry, but mentally I was as faded as my jeans (Thank you Janis Joplin.) I turned off all the lights in my quarters, groped my way to bed, took a loooooooong three or four hits from “Carlo Rossi,” turned on some beautiful classical music perfuming the “ear waves” from WILL-FM Urbana, Illinois and went swiftly and serenely to sleep.

When I awoke about 2 am, I turned on some lights and rearranged furniture in what will be my winter office, the second, smaller bedroom where I will have guitars, pen and paper but no computer. I’m very happy with the result. For most of a year I’ve had no lamp or pole light in that room. After moving a few things in my front parlor, I moved a lamp from there to my new “office,” and discovered it will work out very well. The visibility at 3:10 am is perfect. I’m also going to start building some long-stored plastic models of sailing ships in the new room. I have said for years that aviation is my life, but square-rigged sailing ships are my hobby. By 3:30, I sensed I was done with my early morning burst of productive creativity. I had somehow validated my Wednesday. Before returning to bed and more beautiful music, I exited my front door to see how the house looked. It was okay. She had closed and locked the door. There were no lights visible from the sidewalk at 3:35. It was a rain soaked but perfect evening in so many ways. It would have been great to share it with a consenting adult woman and some good wine, sitting on the covered porch and talking, but these are imperfect times. The lack of said company did not break my heart, but I could have used it just the same.

I awoke from sleep, Round 2, about 7 and felt truly well rested. After working at the museum for awhile, I visited my bank to take out a home equity loan that will allow me to catch up with most overdue bills. I decided that the deletable expletive will not determine my attitude during this rough patch in the time-space continuum. That is what I will do. And that is what I’m doing now. It’s a better day than yesterday, but I believe tomorrow will be even better.

Thanks for reading Honey & Quinine.

Live long . . . . . .and proper.

The Whispering Fall

The resolve to share an update has been gnawing my consciousness as Vachel Lindsay’s “mouse that gnawed the oak tree down.” Google “The Mouse That Gnawed the Oak Tree Down” by Vachel Lindsay to better understand the similie here. The year since summer has sapped the “artist” out of me. I don’t believe that part of me will ever return to me I hope that it does.  IF it does, it will be okay. I feel most who I am meant to be when I am the creative communicator with a guitar in my hands and a poem in my head,  sharing same with people who pay attention. And the loss of that capacity has depressed me like blazes.

The kettle of my consciousness had been warming gradually since last November when the woman who’s rented the upstairs of my duplex stopped paying the rent because of difficulties getting alimony from her estranged mate for life. I decided to not press the issue because she promised to pay all she owed after her divorce settlement came through. It was more important, to me, for her to pay her utility bills and keep the heat connected upstairs than for me to risk frozen pipes. I  knew chances for finding new residents over winter would be slim. Finally, in April she paid what she owed. But during that  long stretch my pickings — food, heat and outlook-wise – were slim and grim! The lease she signed in April  promised she would either vacate the place in August or renew the lease until spring 2015. When August came she said she didn’t want to renew the lease and that she “should be out at the end of September.” On September 1, I advised her that if she would not sign a lease, my note was her official eviction notice  I then decided to NOT advertise the duplex until she was physically GONE and I had changed the locks. I simply did not want to interface with her during her final month in residence. In late September, she asked me if she could pay the rent through October and stay that much longer, that she was having a hard time finding a place. I explained there were two choices: to be out by October 1 or sign a lease until next April when she would have 30 days to vacate. Two days ago she agreed to renew the lease.

In the meantime, I’ve not paid my  land-line phone bill, so it’s been disconnected for three weeks. My “employer” hasn’t paid me for MORE THAN A  FREAKING MONTH , and my electric and gas bills are past due.  If upstairs renter pays rent on time October 1, or if “employer” pays me Monday or Tuesday as I HOPE, I’ll be okay. Cross your fingers world.

But wait, there’s more.

Two friends I’ve known and cherished for more than 20 years — names here are 20 and 16 — and I had the most significant mutual dis-enchantment of any I have experienced in my life of 67 years. They were relative newcomers to the local poetry community which thrived before and during my years as a leader of sorts, one of several major players in the mid-90s. All of the early major poets/players parted company with the evolving core group  and went their separate ways. It grieves me deeply now that I must do the same.

I’ve decided that if a poet determines to be a poet/folksinger/songwriter and the most he can show in the fruit basket of rewards for his labors are more open mic recitals of usually three and sometimes longer performances. . . he has no reason to believe he’s much of a freaking artist. The abrupt confirmation of this reality came when 20 and 16, the new “leaders of the pacque” . . . . on two consecutive occasions, sternly limited me to reciting only two poems/songs, the second less than a month after the first. I could not believe my frikking EARS!

I believe there is more to my estrangement than an overblown reaction to my talking to 20’s friend 16w while 20 was reading a poem at an arts event we all attended. Logic screams at me that the reason connects with what took place in my life in 2009.

That year, a young woman shared my house with me. We had renewed OUR friendship that year when she attended my poetry recital at the Taylorville, Illinois public library. after not seeing each other for many years. In the weeks that followed she moved into my home.  It was all platonic and remained so to the bitter end. During a period lasting about 28 days after she moved in. I became hopeful for something more romantic and less platonic, — beautiful, intelligent women have that effect on me — and I became a problem. I never touched her, never verbally abused her, but it was not fun being in the same house.  She moved out so fast after the tidal wave of discontent crested, that she left some things I later returned to her through a mutual friend. She also left some things I kept and did not return.  I believe that sometime this summer my youthful poetess and fabulous photographer friend, whom I called “Lenore” (nameless here forever more) who was an angelic presence in my life in 2009, who warmed my searching heart, who inspired poetry and songs almost faster than I could write them,  told 20 and 16 earlier this summer of my stupidity and lamented, long-repented conduct. THIS I believe is what cost me friends 20 and 16.

I also believe there will be making up for what happened in 2009 and this summer.

The break is particularly bothersome because the only people I’ve IMAGINED to be my friends  since about 1993 have been contributors and participants in the arts community. There have been many cordial contacts in the aviation community, but before this summer the last disintegration of a major friendship took place in 1993, and that was with an aviation historian friend. We’ve not spoken to each other since.

So the only thing driving me out of bed in the morning is the museum I’m developing at the airport.  It IS FUN. And I’m not expecting to be friends with every person — in aviation and out of it — whose company I consider worth sharing.

But wait, there’s MORE. The third factor in my present, artless life will be shared later this week, probably Wednesday.

Thanks for allowing me to exorcise a load off with you.

Live long . . . . and proper

1st Days of Year 67

Last night I did something I had not done at home since  my TV broke a year and a half ago: I ate dinner seated in a chair at a table at home. Usually I dine with my dinner in a pan or on a plate in my lap, seated in my living room recliner-rocker with iced tea or wine on an end table by the right side. Sometime I dine at my desk in the home office while at the computer. September 5  was my 67th birth day. I write this post as I approach the end of the day that followed.

I am a heck of a lot less certain about life 24 hours (more or less) after turning 67  There is no longer any “song in my heart.” Instead of melody, I have malady. The problem with my cataracts officially diagnosed last May is still not corrected with Lasik surgery slated initially for July. It was delayed for more than a month by the procrastination of my employer who really didn’t give much of a darn about my concerns and about consulting with his CPA about my earnings for the year. When I finally got the information needed, I procrastinated myself for more than a month before contacting the social service agencies which promised financial help.  Events having to do with my local  social life significantly sullied my outlook on LIFE . . . . Why BOTHER? WHO GIVES a RAT’S ASS? As September approached in late August I decided that without ME giving a rat’s ass, nothing is going to happen, and  something MUST happen if I am going to continue to “happen..”

I’m no longer seeking opportunities to share my poetry and songs. If an opportunity comes for me to perform MORE THAN TWO FREAKING COMPOSITIONS, I will.  I am so bitter STILL about two events this summer that almost doomed me,  I could spit nails through a  two by four, and there is no outlet for this anger. All I can do is keep it to  myself.  And that’s what I did all summer. Over the last few weeks I decided  it would be better for me to bite off my TONGUE to avoid than sharing my anger vocally with a living hummin’ bean. As my 67th birthday approached. I “gave” some people an opportunity to at least acknowledge my big day as I have acknowledged theirs for the past decade or so. And. . . late in the day of the 5th, they did.  Things will never be the same regarding poetry and song in my life, my satisfaction with their terse acknowledgement, was akin to the redemption that comes from the opportunity of  building a new house using only the remains of the dreams and hopes that went to hell. house that burned down. A victory of ashes.

The single mom who has rented my upstairs duplex TUMULTUOUSLY for three years is moving out, and I am at wit’s end over this. She paid the final month’s rent on time, but I have not YET (September 9) read her note to me about her intentions. I cannot bring myself to communicate with her by phone or even Facebook messaging which I’ve used in the past.  She placed her rent and a note of some kind inside my outer door the day after receiving my note telling her I must rent to someone who will sign a lease, and since she would not sign a lease, she has 30 days to be gone from upstairs. I didn’t even look inside the envelope for a week because I didn’t want whatever was in there to spoil my BIRTHDAY. So on Monday the 8th I opened the envelope enough to see the rent check and deposited it today, Tuesday. I will read the note next Monday the 15th. I know I am prolonging my agony over this.  Though I told her I’d advertise the coming vacancy and showing it to potential renters this month, I’ve changed my mind. I don’t even want to SEE her until she’s moving out. This little antic of mine will cost me $650: the money I expect to lose over October as I try to rent the place.  So freaking WHAT? I’ll LIVE with it.

I intend to make more time for poetry and stories from my life here at
Honey & Quinine IF I can get the cataracts fixed and a new renter.

And my hearing is going south on me.

Live long . . . . . . . and proper.

My involvement with the Springfield, Illinois poetry community has diminished in recent weeks due to circumstances I will not describe in print. This retrograde turn has sullied and soured a great deal of my life, my life-long love of poetry writing/reciting  and songwriting/performing has not diminished. I decided to attend This is POETRY at Springfield’s Legacy Theater because, from the look of their public relations material, the group renting the theater for the night had a good handle on a part of the poetry scene I knew nothing about.

 

Saturday afternoon 6-ish.

Saturday afternoon 6-ish.

 

The FREE program was slated to begin at 7. Here's the theater more than an hour before.

The FREE program was slated to begin at 7. Here’s the theater more than an hour before.

Pictures here are thmbnailed. Click on any for  a larger image and back to return to the blog.
All pictures posted here were taken by, yours truly, Job Conger.

I was surprised (the word “DISAPOINTED” doesn’t begin to say what I really felt) to find the hostess was a drag queen who could as likely be your postman or accountant when not “dolled up” for theatrical productions. I felt I had come to what I thought would be a program of poetry only to discover that the main event was a sheep that could count to ten with its fore hooves and dance to Johnny Cash tunes on two legs. I didn’t “get” the point of it. That said, he seemed to know what he was doing. He takes his art (?) seriously.

Comedian Mike Bryant also performed. The saving grace of his performance was that the sound was so muddy and reverberating in the Legacy Theater’s basement that I could hardly understand a word that was said. It might have been that my seat was in the wrong place or — equally likely — that my hearing is going south on me, and I can’t hear as well as I did  when I was younger . Others in the large hard-floored area seemed to laugh occasionally. It did not seem a particularly supportive, tuned in crowd. The hour from 6 to 7s was the opening part of the night, attended by probably fewer than 200 of us who paid $15 for the opportunity to have some beer or wine and mingle, to buy books from the book sellers.

All early show attendees were given a copy of This Is Poetry a well produced anthology with another “surprising” title. Billy Collins, one of my FAVE bards, wrote a book titled The Trouble With Poetry which I purchased, looking forward to reading what I THOUGHT would be a light-hearted “critique” of contemporary poetry.  To my surprise the book was a collection of his recent poems, and not a bad read at all, but not what I expected. There is no disputing that between the covers of This Is Poetry are poems. Since the promised book coincided with the event that featured poets from New Hampshire to California, I anticipated an anthology of poems written by the participating poets. Instead, it’s an anthology of poems by women poets. I don’t know if Lady Jasmine is included; haven’t looked yet. There’s no question it’s a well-produced book, and I’ll share a review of it, and all the other books I purchased, here at Honey & Quinine.

As the floor show continued I visited the booksellers on the landing. The sponsoring organization permitted me to place some of my “folksinger” cards, poetry performance brochures and Vachel Lindsay Historic Site brochures on their table. I also encountered my friend Jeremiah Walton setting up his sale area for books donated to his Books and Shovels mobile bookstore.  To be sure I could occupy a good seat for photographing the poets. I headed upstairs to the very nicely arranged theater about 6:50. About 35 minutes later, the 7:00 show began.

The rest of this post is pictures and captions. Anyone who can identify poets I do not identify is welcome to name them in comments following the end of this post. Poets I considered un-photographable because of microphone placement and a few times because their sharing of their craft simply didn’t make a positive impression, are not included here.

In the red dress is Lady Jasmine Michael. Behind him, event organizer Michele McDannold adjusts the sound.

In the red dress is Lady Jasmine Michael. Behind him, event organizer Michele McDannold adjusts the sound.

 

Adam Nicholson (foreground) watches the assault. Up the stairs in the background, publications distributed by organizers and the traveling Books & Shovels mobile bookstore were offered for sale. Behind us, the Legacy Theater operated a bar that sold beer and wine, nicely set up and friendly.

Adam Nicholson (foreground) watches the assault. Up the stairs in the background, publications distributed by organizers and the traveling Books & Shovels mobile bookstore were offered for sale. Behind us, the Legacy Theater operated a bar that sold beer and wine, nicely set up and friendly.

Poetry in motion; aye? Lady Jasmine did his schtick with Adam less than two feet from me. This is a candid. I wasn't angry, but I wasn't amused. Entertainment, well performed is good, even if it's not my cup of tea, and this was pretty good.

Poetry in motion; aye? Lady Jasmine did his schtick with Adam less than two feet from me. This is a candid. I wasn’t angry, but I wasn’t amused. Entertainment, well performed is good, even if it’s not my cup of tea, and this was pretty good.

Comedian Mike Bryant

Comedian Mike Bryant

 

 

Mike Bryant

  Mike Bryant

The sponsor's sales table on the landing was terrific. I was familiar with none of the authors' names on the books and CDs but production quality was first class everywhere I looked.

The sponsor’s sales table on the landing was terrific. I was familiar with none of the authors’ names on the books and CDs but production quality was first class everywhere I looked.

Jeremiah Walton of Books & Shovels mobile bookstore and a featured performer, looks over a poem he would read when the fun began upstairs.

Jeremiah Walton of Books & Shovels mobile bookstore and a featured performer, looks over a poem he would read when the fun began upstairs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lady Jasmine was the emcee, and fully 45 minutes of the first hour consisted of him dancing to music and prancing up and down the center aisle. I don't know what he did (I was seated in row two back from the stage) and I didn't bother to look.

Lady Jasmine was the emcee, and fully 45 minutes of the first hour consisted of him dancing to music and prancing up and down the center aisle. I don’t know what he did (I was seated in row two back from the stage) and I didn’t bother to look.

Jeremiah Walton wsa the first poet to take the stage.

Jeremiah Walton wsa the first poet to take the stage.

He was one of two poets who read and recited sans microphone. He did not need one. The other one did.

He was one of two poets who read and recited sans microphone. He did not need one. The other one did.

 

The microphone and sound quality had been set earlier, and sound quality was first class all the way.  In a large, upholstered venue like the theater, voices, even the best, strongly shared, suffer. Jeremiah did a fine job without the mic.

The microphone and sound quality had been set earlier, and sound quality was first class all the way. In a large, upholstered venue like the theater, voices, even the best, strongly shared, suffer. Jeremiah did a fine job without the mic.

This photo has been slightly retouched.

This photo has been slightly retouched.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I did not get this poet's name, but he knew how to use a microphone, had solid stage presence, and we all heard every word he said. That's what it's all about, Alfie.

I did not get this poet’s name, but he knew how to use a microphone, had solid stage presence, and we all heard every word he said. That’s what it’s all about, Alfie.

nice work

nice work

Another solid sharer of his poetry, I don't remember his name.

Another solid sharer of his poetry, I don’t remember his name.

 

 

If memory serves, three women poets read during the first haf. This was one of the most memorable. I did not get her name.

If memory serves, three women poets read during the first half. This was one of the most memorable.                       I did not get her name.

Lady Jasmine called each poet over to the microphone and chatted after their readings. Unfortunately there was only one microphone so the poet responses to L cool J could not be heard. Taking the mic in hand and holding it close to the interviewed poets would have worked well at these times.

Lady Jasmine called each poet over to the microphone and chatted after their readings. Unfortunately there was only one microphone so the poet responses to L cool J could not be heard. Taking the mic in hand and holding it close to the interviewed poets would have worked well at these times.

This gent was the penultimate poet of the first half. I did not get his name He recited without a microphone.

This gent was the penultimate poet of the first half. I did not get his name He recited without a microphone.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By a country mile, Bill Gainer was one of only two poets in the first half I would travel 60 miles to see and hear. J. Walton is the other.

By a country mile, Bill Gainer was one of only two poets in the first half I would travel 60 miles to see and hear. J. Walton is the other.

I talked too briefly with him following the conclusion of the first half of the show. I also purchased two of his books.

I talked too briefly with him following the conclusion of the first half of the show. I also purchased two of his books.

 

Bill is one more reason I wish I lived in California, even though I love Springfield, which I have come to realize, is a good place to hide.

Bill is one more reason I wish I lived in California, even though I love Springfield, which I have come to realize, is a good place to hide.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All poets who participated in This is POETRY are invited to post their names and links to their web sites in the comments area that follows this post.

All poets who participated in This is POETRY
are invited to post their names and links to their web sites in the comments area that follows this post.

Bill is immersed in the poetry scene in California and, no doubt, beyond.

Bill is immersed in the poetry scene in California and, no doubt, beyond.

 

Bill and his fried A. Razor, who shared in the second half of the program, knew Charles Buchowski whom I hold in stellar esteem. When A. Razor (a pen name do you think? He wouldn't say.) told me he had shaken the hand of Charles the great, I shook his hand, with his permission. With Bill's permission, I also shook his. :)

Bill and his fried A. Razor, who shared in the second half of the program, knew Charles Buchowski whom I hold in stellar esteem. When A. Razor (a pen name do you think? He wouldn’t say.) told me he had shaken the hand of Charles the great, I shook his hand, with his permission. With Bill’s permish, I shook his too.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bill was the quintessential friend of a microphone. He didn't have to use a "stage voice" to be heard in the back row. He was casually conversational, and his head was never absent mindedly thrust awaaaaay  from his friend.

Bill was the quintessential friend of a microphone. He didn’t have to use a “stage voice” to be heard in the back row. He was casually conversational, and his head was never absent mindedly thrust awaay from his friend.

chatting with Lady Jasmine after reading. I laughed as hard at his poem (book tltle too) The Fine Art of Poisoning (or something like that) when I read it at work two days later as I did when he shared it Saturday night! If his wife had put two or three drops in the gravy, the man would not have shaken my hand Saturday night!

chatting with Lady Jasmine after reading. I laughed as hard at his poem (book title too) The Fine Art of Poisoning (or something like that) when I read it at work two days later as I did when he shared it Saturday night! If his wife had put two or three drops in the gravy, he would not have been on the playbill for This is POETRY!

 

During the intermission I returned to the landing downstairs to buy some books. This wojman was shopping at the sponsor's table.

During the intermission I returned to the landing downstairs to buy some books. This woman was shopping at the sponsor’s table.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Over at the Books & Shovels mobile bookstore tables, Capt'n Lyn was busy pushin' books to convivial customers.

Over at the Books & Shovels mobile bookstore tables, Capt’n Lyn was busy pushin’ books to convivial customers.

Capt'n Lyn also posed with copy of my book of poetry Minstrel's Ramble,, the blue book below the  OPEN sign, which I donated to Books & Shovels.

Capt’n Lyn also posed with copy of my book of poetry Minstrel’s Ramble,, the blue book below the OPEN sign, which I donated to Books & Shovels.

It was late, I was tired, hadn’t eaten a thing all day and my camera battery was about dead. So, to avoid further imprinting of visions of Lady Jasmine on my liberal-but-squirming bray-een, I didn’t stay for the second half of the show. As I departed Legacy Theater I encountered elements two and three of “the traveling bookstore trio” and chatted with them before heading home to dinner.

Sam Lennon and Jeremiah Walton, new amigos from New Hampsha (as they say in the  former colonies). The next afternoon they  and Capt'n Lyn would leave Springfield for St. Louis and destinations west. Their saga continues. And so does mine. :)

Sam Lennon and Jeremiah Walton, new amigos from New Hampsha (as they say in the former colonies). The next afternoon they and Capt’n Lyn would leave Springfield for St. Louis and destinations west. Their saga continues. And so does mine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
It had been an evening to remember, and I promise to support any return of the sponsoring organization to the Legacy Theater.  KUDOS to all who attended and everyone who was a part of This is POETRY.

Thanks for reading this post.

Live long . . . . and proper.

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