Sunday, December 28, 2008


As I mentioned yesterday, Rick and I gave each other the same book of poetry for Christmas – a bit of synchronicity right there. His had been delivered one day while he was out so I had a brief opportunity to wrap it. When I give poetry books, I like to write a passage from one of the poems inside the front cover above my “to” and “from” entry. Sometimes I take a while to find the right stanza, or I choose a poem I’m familiar with. This time I needed to wrap it right away so I randomly opened the book to page 696. (It’s quite a tome – The Complete Poetry and Prose of William Blake.) I scanned the first poem and loved it! I chose the 3rd and fourth lines to inscribe:

“Saw how they mingled melting rays
Exchanging Love a thousand ways”

A perfect selection to write in a poetry book given to one’s lover!

I wrote, signed, and wrapped it and this morning, my first leisurely one in several days, I picked up the book to read the whole poem. Here’s what I read:

“Sunday August 1807 My wife was told by a Spirit to look for
her fortune by opening by chance a book which she had in her hand
it was Bysshes Art of Poetry. She opend the following

I saw ‘em kindle with Desire
While with soft sighs they blew the fire
Saw how they mingled melting rays
Exchanging Love a thousand ways”

. . . and it goes on . . .

It was the piece I’d randomly chosen to write in the front of Rick’s book! What synchronicity!

But then I wondered if this was part of Blake’s poetic presentation or was it truly an event related by the poet. Is there really a book entitled Bysshes Art of Poetry and is there a poet named Behn.

The internet is a wonderful thing.

Sure enough there is both. The book is referenced in another book on Google Book Search and Behn appears to be Aphra (a/k/a Afra) Behn, a 17th Century female poet who has a very interesting history. A bisexual whose erotic writing often speak of men’s impotence and an anything goes kind of sexual freedom: “that was lawful all, that Pleasure did invite.” Apparently she also worked as a spy, spent time in debtor’s prison, and later earned a living by writing amatory fiction – a prelude to the romance novel. I have to admit I don’t recall hearing of her previously though I guess she’s considered quite important for her unabashedly sensual homosexual writings.

So I inscribed a poem by Afra Behn into a William Blake poetry book. C’est la vie. Love is love.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Christmas 2008

Monday morning - 12 inches of snow met us at the door; probably more like 18 inches in the driveway.

Rick out emptying the fireplace ashes; refusing to let go of the last vestige of summer . . .

Jared posing for Christmas Eve photo -

. . . after too much hot soup, chocolate silk pie, and wine -

Christmas Karma

Some Christmas reading and viewing: Rick and I gave each other the same book of poems; did everyone get two copies of The Beat Face of God? Throw in a little Kerouac, some Lebowski, and a couple of great vintage movies. A 1980 film based on Ursula Le Guin's book, The Lathe of Heaven. I think it was shown on PBS one Sunday afternoon, after lots of hype, (Dan and I drove an hour and a half to my parents house because we refused to have a TV at home) and never shown again on TV, and unavailable in or by order from any video store I'd ever been in. Of course, however, I found it on Amazon recently and put it on my wish list and someone very sweet gave it to me for Christmas. And from Rick's wish list an even older film - 1964's Robinson Crusoe on Mars. Directed by Byron Haskin who also did War of the Worlds and Outer Limits, released on DVD just last year. Cheesey cool.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Present - Christmas Eve

Rick's chocolate silk pies are setting up in the fridge, Jared is baking, Christopher is making punch, soup is simmering on the stovetop, Christmas lights are twinkling, fire is crackling, and it's just begun to snow. Guest arriving in a couple hours.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Favorite photos of 08

Here's a couple other favorite photos of 2008. Rick is in PA tonight hanging out with his beat friend, Keith, the one who originally turned him on to Kerouac. Keith was in Maine last summer and the three of us went to Acadia for the weekend. Great time.

Rick and Keith did some rock climbing while I photographed from another ledge. Here I am later walking on the Rocks at Otter Cliffs.

Thursday Night in Hallowell

I love Hallowell. It’s been several weeks since I’ve done my Thursday night rounds there as Malley moved her regular Thursday night class to Mondays. I decided to skip this session as there’s no point in going out in Hallowell on Monday nights and what fun is pottery without rounds afterwards.

There’s such a fun assortment of characters out on Thursday night in Hallowell. Old hippies, Bob and Susan, and Deb who always come out to listen to music after their silent vigil at the Augusta rotary in protest to the Iraq war. They’ve been there every week since the beginning, regardless of driving rain, or temperatures ranging from below zero to over ninety. Deb is director of CDS and can’t wait to retire so she can join the Peace Corps.

Then, of course, there’s Eddie; but he’ll be leaving soon to flee the cold Maine winter for sunny Dominica. Malley, my pottery teacher who’s glad to have a few Thursdays off from classes, but is still drawn out for the music and friends. Bruce the bartender at Hattie’s who starts pouring my beer when he sees me walk in the door – occasionally even when I hadn’t intended to stay. Ross the woodcutter and his on again off again relationship with Barbara. Definitely off this month.

Eddie, Deb, and I then headed down to The Higher Grounds where I found Brian, “play some Queen” Bob, Paul tending bar, whom I hadn’t seen in some time; Jim C on a brief return home from Florida, and of course, the guy in the corner whose name I don’t know but is always there with his sketch pad working on some incredibly elaborate piece of art. Deb and I actually sat and talked to him last night and checked out the piece he was working on. Bob C from the band came over (of course they went on break two minutes after I came in which never fails to happen) and seeing a Celtic knot in the sketch suggested that would be a good name for an English bar: The Celtic Not! Ha.

Next stop was Joyce’s, which is a fairly new pub in town, owned by a former bartender at The Wharf, named Joyce of course. Rick and I have been there several times for dinner and music but have always stayed downstairs at the main bar. Well we went upstairs last night and what a lovely surprise. Not only is it very cozy but lo and behold there were another 20 of my favorite Hallowell regulars there last night. They’d been out Christmas caroling to the local nursing homes, all dressed up in long black coats and top hats with red flowers. Very dapper. A different musical assortment with Mike Byrd on stand up bass, some guy I didn’t recognize on the baby grand, and Chris’s sister, Cathy on vocals. They were wonderful! Played a killer jazzy version of a couple of Christmas carols that just brought joy to the heart.

As we were headed back to our cars we met Stevie, a kick ass musician, just packing up from his gig at The Liberal Cup, eagerly inquiring what was happening where. Just imagining him sitting in with the folks at Joyce’s almost made me turn around and go back.

Thursday night pottery classes start back up in early January. I can’t wait. Oh yes, and boy do I have a shit load of pottery to give as Christmas gifts this year. Some good stuff, too! Gotta make room for the new.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Weekend

Friday felt like a lost day, spent basically preparing for unknown amount of time without power. Would it be a couple more hours, or will it be three or four days? No answer at the power company; MPR says a million without power and it will take days to restore it all. So we got the generator. . . read full scoop at Rick's posting for the day:

After Christopher beat us all at Scrabble (Rick by one point), a replay of The Kite Runner on my laptop which I was powering from the generator along with the sump pump, fridge, and cell phone, and then trying to remain warm by staying within 10 feet of the fireplace, the electricity came back on at about 9:00 p.m. to the delighted cries from Jared and Chris. Rick had to drive an hour away to play what turned out to be a rather painful gig with the NP’s. If you really want to appreciate something like electricity, go without it for about 14 hours during a Maine winter.

Saturday we drove to Eustis, met Vicky and Chuck who hosted the whole NP and SO’s for the night at their “camp” on Flagstaff Lake, right next to a camp I’d rented with the boys for a week about three summers ago. Small world. Nice place. Good dinner and then Rick dropped me off at Cindy’s and she Mary, Kat and I went over and visited Grace and K-Lee for a while before heading up to The Rack at the base of Sugarloaf Mountain. Fun night; NP’s sounded great; lots of dancing! Head finally hit the pillow about 3 a.m.

A rather mediocre, slow breakfast for 10 at The Stratton Diner and we arrived home around noon. Jared brought home a Christmas tree, I hung lights and decorations, we all enjoyed a pot o’ soup (Sunday is now soup night it seems) did the puzzles, and off to bed. One more week of work and then I’ll be on vacation for two weeks.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Friday, December 5, 2008

July Trip to Bigelow Preserve

A photo from my July trip to Flagstaff Lake in the Bigelow Preserve. It was my first solo trip in the camper. I think Rick was in PA.

Flagstaff used to be a very small lake but a dam was built on the Dead River back in the mid 50s, flooding the town of Flagstaff. People say when the water is low you can look into the lake and still see chimneys from some of the old homes.

You can see the Bigelow Range rising up from the lake. The double peaks towards the left are called The Horns.

It was a blustery day with storm clouds threatening and finally letting loose on me at about dusk. The camping at Bigelow Preserve is free on a first come basis. It was pretty deserted the weekend I was up there.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

2008 Photo Favorites

Thought I'd post some of my favorite photos of 2008; ones that I haven't already posted here: or on LiveJournal. I like this one of Rick and his friend with the Kennebec River behind them.

And right next door is my friend Eddie's antique shop, called Poet's Antiques. You can see some of Eddie's paintings in the window and the sign for our favorite dive in Hallowell - The Wharf - which is on the floor below the antique shop.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Kerouac and Cleave Poetry

I’ve been reading a lot of Jack Kerouac lately. I like some of his writings, particularly The Dharma Bums and particularly when he writes about his time on Desolation Peak. That’s where my head’s at these days. Peace, solitude, contemplation. But I found myself feeling very uneasy when I read On The Road. At first I wasn’t really sure why.

When I read an entry about Kerouac in someone's blog recently it made me realize why I may not appreciate the beats as much as others. The blogger loved On The Road and said "His writing gives you a look at a side of society that I'm (the blogger) never likely to experience." Ha! Epiphany!

That was it. It wasn’t so much his writing style that disturbed me but his characters. It was because I knew the characters in his books. Not those particular characters, but the type. They were my friends in my late teens and early 20s. A wild, fun, and interesting assortment but people who were headed full speed toward a dead end. You know the type, you probably have some of your own.

I see some of them on occasion. Franny, Spaceman, Scrot, T-Bone, and Coopdedo. They were the mad ones. The ones whose fire burned so brightly that it hit nova and expired before they hit middle age. Who believed they’d never live past 30. Who you might see now still hanging out at The Paddock (a local dive) having experienced multiple marriages, poverty, kids in jail, rehab, homelessness, and toothlessness.

Anyway, the other night Rick and I were “stumbling.” (See We came across a website about Cleave poetry. Very cool!

Check it out:

Cleave : is a contranym, a word with 2 opposite meanings:

verb 1) split or sever along a natural grain or line. 2) divide; split.

verb 1) stick fast to. 2) become strongly involved with or emotionally attached to.

In its most basic form it is three poems:

two parallel ‘vertical’ poems (left and right)

a third ‘horizontal’ poem being the fusion of the vertical poems read together.

So, I had been thinking about writing a poem reflecting on my memories of those crazy times and tying it in to Jack somehow. When I saw the Cleave Poetry site I decided to give it a try. So here’s what I came up with. Hope you enjoy it. It was fun to write. I don’t have a title. Suggestions?

Okay, well I see that the Blogger screen is not wide enough to make this work. Hmmm, let's try a jpg. . . Pathetic. You probably can't even read it. But if you can, just remember, it's read as 3 different poems.

Fall leaves

Our rather ragged looking lawn before . . .

and after . . .

Done only the day before our first snowfall. Thanks, Mike!!!

BTW, for those of you who haven't seen earlier posts on my previous blog, check out the wolf head in the tree. A natural and very cool occurence.