6.29.2020 – find some common ground

find some common ground
bitter and hopeless struggle
otherwise life is

From the essay, Ten Things I Have Learned by Milton Glaser.

I came across the writings of this artist only after he died.

In point number 1 of his essay, Ten Things, Glaser wrote;

This is a curious rule and it took me a long time to learn because in fact at the beginning of my practice I felt the opposite. Professionalism required that you didn’t particularly like the people that you worked for or at least maintained an arms length relationship to them, which meant that I never had lunch with a client or saw them socially. Then some years ago I realized that the opposite was true. I discovered that all the work I had done that was meaningful and significant came out of an affectionate relationship with a client. And I am not talking about professionalism; I am talking about affection. I am talking about a client and you sharing some common ground. That in fact your view of life is someway congruent with the client, otherwise it is a bitter and hopeless struggle.

While the target audience is professional artists, I find this sentence, with some minor tweaking so that it reads That in fact your view of life is someway congruent with another person, otherwise it is a bitter and hopeless struggle applies to everyone.

I feel know what he means.

6.28.2020 – all born with genius

all born with genius
inner voice listening stops
lose our paths access

There are icons in life.

Images and such that are iconic.

The word gets used way too often and too often applied inappropriately.

An aspect of iconic for me is something is such a part of life that it is difficult to imagine someone came up with the idea or design in the first place.

How else might a typewriter keyboard been designed but the way it is right now under my finger tips.

Didn’t Moses bring the 1st keyboard down from the mountain top?

For me, an example of an iconic design is the classic I ❤ NY.

I am so used to it, I always thought it existed.

Never gave it a second thought.

Turns out it was designed back in 1975 as part of an effort to help revive the city of New York when the city went through a chapter 13.

Turns out it was designed … YES I USED THE WORDS DESIGNED … by a graphic artist named Milton Glaser.

He did the work for the campaign PRO BONO.

Can the amount of earnings Mr. Glaser gave up even be calculated?

But you cannot judge success at the moment of creation can you.

An article in The Guardian about Mr. Glaser says of the logo, “the type and the heart symbol work together, so successful. It also went with a strong sense of humanity and ethics.

Sorry to say that the article I read about this was Mr. Glaser’s obituary.

Mr. Glaser was quoted as saying, “We are all born with genius,” he said. “It’s like our fairy godmother. But what happens in life is that we stop listening to our inner voices, and we no longer have access to this extraordinary ability to create poetry.”

I love this.

It’s a perfect warning for today.

Don’t stop listening to our inner voices.

Those voices who aren’t reminding us that we need to climb Mt. Everest, but those voices that remind us to get up, go to work, pay the bills, and do other feats of ordinary greatness.

Do not stop listening and do not lose access to this extraordinary ability to create poetry on a daily basis.

I am sorry it was Mr. Glaser’s passing that brought it my attention.

Grateful that it did.

Grateful also for the last line in his Obit.

“None of us really has the ability to understand our path,” Mr. Glaser said, “until it’s over.”

6.27.2020 – dust from Sahara

dust from Sahara
in me eyes and on my tongue
wide world dust still dust

According to a report from NASA, the NASA-NOAA’s Suomi NPP satellite captured a visible image of the large light brown plume of Saharan dust over the North Atlantic Ocean. The image showed that the dust from Africa’s west coast extended almost to the Lesser Antilles in the eastern North Atlantic Ocean. The image showed that the dust had spread over 2,000 miles across the Atlantic.

Normally, hundreds of millions of tons of dust are picked up from the deserts of Africa and blown across the Atlantic Ocean each year. That dust helps build beaches in the Caribbean and fertilizes soils in the Amazon. It can also affect air quality in North and South America.

This weekend the dust cloud reached North Georgia.

With a view to the horizon the dust is very easy to see.

You can feel it in the air, this dust from the Sahara.

It gets in your eyes and makes them water.

It gets on your tongue and you can taste it.

It gets in your nose and makes you sneeze.

It comes from 2000 miles away.

And it reminds me of numberless games of softball in countless parks on chalky fields.

Do they play softball in the desert?

6.26.2020 – No love? Am only

No love? Am only
sounding brass or clanging cymbals
mankind or Angel

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal – 1 Corinthians 13:1 (NIV)

Much is made in the history books of the fact that the United States of America twice held national elections in the middle of a war.

In 1864, with the country engaged in Civil War, Abraham Lincoln ran for reelection.

Re election alone had not been tried since Andrew Jackson.

An election in the middle of a Civil War?

World couldn’t quite figure that one out.

In 1944, with World War 2 winding down, Franklin Roosevelt ran for the 4th time.

That’s not so much you would think but consider that Mr. Churchill called an election about 8 months later and got tossed out of office.

Stalin never did understand how Mr. Churchill allowed that to happen.

In less than 4 months, we are going to try and have a national election.

I put it to you that if you took the national mood at its worst in 1864 and combined it with the national mood at its worst in 1944 and then mixed it real good, the result would not come close the the national mood right now.

It is ugly out there.

And it is going to get worse.

Not much love.

Lots of sounding brass and cymbals.

If not with us, then against us and take no prisoners.

We are better than this.

At least we were.

Faith?

Hope?

Love?

All seem to have been thrown out the window for baseball bats and bricks.

I have to ask myself that old WWJD.

What would Jesus do?

WHAT would Jesus do!

Once he stopped throwing up I think Jesud would do one of two things.

It wouldn’t surprise me if he went through the United States like he went through the Temple saying, “My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations, but you have made it a den of robbers!”

That or he would turn and shake the dust of his sandals on the United States and walk away.

I think the 2nd option is by far the worse.

6.25.2020 – checklist for changing?

checklist for changing?
anger, frustration, fear, want
right person at top

Thinking back over the great revolutions in world history, I went looking for common denominators.

The American Revolution, the French Revolution and the Russian Revolitions.

They all had anger in common.

Frustration and feat and want all in common.

And one other thing.

A real bone head at the top the pyramid.

George III may have been well meaning but he was a well meaning fat head who maybe could not get his arms around the fact that Americans wanted out but for sure did not grasp that any one would not want to be a subject of the Lord’s Anointed on earth.

And even if he wasn’t truly in charge, it seems that a lot of His Majesty’s Government were boneheads.

Take Lord George Germain for example, Secretary of State for the Colonies.

He wrote the orders of General John Burgoyne to march south from Canada along the Hudson River.

The Lord George went to lunch.

When he got back, he forgot all about writing orders to General Henry Clinton to march north from New York up the Hudson River to meet Gentleman Johnny.

The result being that when Johnny came down the Hudson to Saratoga, all he found was a bunch of really mad armed Americans and we had our first big victory of the war.

In France lets start with who was there.

To leave France and settle in Quebec, you had to prove you were a good Catholic and a loyal to the King.

In Great Britain the rule if you don’t love it here, feel free to leave and they did.

In France all the whiners and complainers had to stay in France.

The pro-King people all left.

And when the hungry people complained about being hungry, the Queen suggested Little Debbies.

Her husband, King Louis the whatever they had got to believed it when he said, “French people and above all Parisians … return to your king. He will always be your father, your best friend”

He accepted the crowds as his best friends right up to that last drop of the guillotine.

And Russian leaders.

After the American Revolution, Russians were inspired to launch there own revolution in 1825 when Tsar Alexander died.

It was hoped that Alexander’s brother Constantine, would take over and esatablish a new Russian Constitution.

The Decembrist mob stood outside the royal palace in St. Petersburg yelling Constantine and Constitution, Constantine and Constitution!

True many in the mob thought that Constitution was Constantine’s wife but they were yelling and having a great time.

Inside the palace, Nicholas I, the son and heir of the dead Tsar could hear the crowd.

Whatever they were yelling they were not yelling Nicholas.

So Nicky, a little pissed off, called out the Cossacks.

It is because of this charge that Nicholas I is known as Bloody Nicholas and not his Great Great Grandson, Nicholas II.

Of Nicholas II, wikipedia reports that, “Most commonly, he is described as shallow, weak, stupid—a one-dimensional figure presiding feebly over the last days of a corrupt and crumbling system. This, certainly, is the prevailing public image of the last Tsar. Historians admit that Nicholas was a “good man”—the historical evidence of personal charm, gentleness, love of family, deep religious faith and strong Russian patriotism is too overwhelming to be denied—but they argue that personal factors are irrelevant; what matters is that Nicholas was a bad tsar …. Essentially, the tragedy of Nicholas II was that he appeared in the wrong place in history”

Shallow

Weak

Stupid

Slow

Out of Touch

Feeble

Dumber than a stump.

Dumber than stump water.

Dumb from the neck up.

Start with people.

People frustrated, angry, scarred and looking for answers.

Looking to leaders to provide direction and the lights are on and no one is home.

Kind of reminds me of somewhere.

Kind of reminds me of someone.

Kind of doesn’t fill me with excitement for the future.

6.24.2020 – smile behind my mask

smile behind my mask
wearing my mask no one sees
so take it on faith

Is wearing a mask to simple a task?

I remember this story form the Bible.

When Elisha the man of God heard that the king of Israel had torn his robes, he sent him this message: “Why have you torn your robes? Have the man come to me and he will know that there is a prophet in Israel.” So Naaman went with his horses and chariots and stopped at the door of Elisha’s house. Elisha sent a messenger to say to him, “Go, wash yourself seven times in the Jordan, and your flesh will be restored and you will be cleansed.”

But Naaman went away angry and said, “I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, wave his hand over the spot and cure me of my leprosy. 12Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Couldn’t I wash in them and be cleansed?” So he turned and went off in a rage.

Naaman’s servants went to him and said, “My father, if the prophet had told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more, then, when he tells you, ‘Wash and be cleansed’!” So he went down and dipped himself in the Jordan seven times, as the man of God had told him, and his flesh was restored and became clean like that of a young boy.

6.23.2020 – music heard with you

music heard with you
more than music, without you
all is desolate

Adapted from the Conrad Aiken’s Music I Heard.

I like his work though I had never heard until Savannah attached itself to myself late in life.

Yet the words, Music I heard with you was more than music, And bread I broke with you was more than bread, describe life with my wife that it seems like I have known his work for years.

Music I heard with you was more than music,
And bread I broke with you was more than bread.
Now that I am without you, all is desolate,
All that was once so beautiful is dead.

Your hands once touched this table and this silver,
And I have seen your fingers hold this glass.
These things do not remember you, beloved:
And yet your touch upon them will not pass.

For it was in my heart you moved among them,
And blessed them with your hands and with your eyes.
And in my heart they will remember always:
They knew you once, O beautiful and wise!

Like Johnny Mercer, the poet Conrad Aiken was known as Savannah’s own.

Mr. Aiken, according to his entry in Wikipedia, was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship, taught briefly at Harvard, and served as consultant in poetry for the Library of Congress.

Somehow, he was also largely responsible for establishing Emily Dickinson’s reputation as a major American poet.

Yet, in Savannah, he might be best know for recognizing a word combination in the daily newspaper where one day under SHIPS – ARRIVALS – DEPARTURES, he saw the notice;

Cosmos MarinerDestination Unknown.

Mr. Aiken took notice of the notice.

Mr. Aiken recognized the pure accidental poetry of the words.

He like the arrangement.

He like the rythym.

He liked it so much you that can read to this day as he had it carved into a marble bench.

A marble bench that sits next to his grave in a Savannah.

A bench where anyone can sit and watch the ships come and go from the port of Savannah.

Maybe one of them might be the Cosmos Mariner.

And its destination might be unknown.

Maybe I am the Cosmos Mariner.

Going out through the Cosmos.

Destination unknown.

6.22.2020 – rain falls, sail boats sink

rain falls, sail boats sink
temperatures drop, stocks plunge
emotions plummet

At the click of a switch.

Drop of a hat.

Off the edge of the table.

Closing of a door.

Night and day.

Black and white.

Sweet or sour.

Why do the bad days have to follow the good days so close.

No transition.

No warning.

Life is good and then it isn’t.

I wish I could remember how bad it can get when its going good.

I might appreciate the good more maybe.

But mostly I want to remember how bad it gets and some days the bit of good just isn’t worth it.

6.21.2020 – fathers day, my day

fathers day, my day
larger cast of characters?
still my miracle day

The biological process and the other process.

I do not think I have to go into the miracle of birth.

Hands down, no argument, the biological process of birth is a miracle.

I remember an episode of the TV show ‘Frasier’ where Niles Crane was diagnosed with ‘slow motility sperm.”

When his wife learns she is pregnant she says she must have fast eggs.

Miracle.

In this direction, things didn’t work out for us.

But with family history in play, it wasn’t that unexpected.

I guess I was ready for it.

When I had my first one-on-one meeting with the social worker, she asked, “Why do you want to adopt?”

I thought that was a dumb question seeing as how I was talking to an adoption specialist.

“We want a family,” I said.

She looked at me, made a note on a pad.

Then she asked, “What are you looking for?”

Which I thought was an even dumber question.

“Whatcha got?”, I responded.

She made a note on a pad.

I said, “Wait, wait, wait. What are you writing down? What do people say to that question?”

She looked at me and said, “Well in your case, most people would respond, a child with blond hair and blue eyes. Someone who looks like me …”

“OH?” says I, “what happens to those people?”

“They wait for 2 to 3 years.”

I need to say that I and this social worker hit it off.

I can say my response of whatcha got never changed .

I would even step on a limb and say she liked me.

She might have thought I was a bit … different, but she liked me.

She pulled some strings.

She pushed some buttons.

She had also placed a bunch of kids with my wife’s extended family.

Like I said though, she liked me.

She liked us.

Me and my wife Leslie.

She liked us though she warned that on our personality profiles we both tested high on leadership.

She told that could lead to ‘interesting’ situations later on.

But we also got fast tracked for adoption.

10 years later we had 7 kids.

Miracle.

Then there is family history.

In June of 1862, my Great Great Grandfather was shot through the lungs at the battle of Gaines Mill as a soldier in the Union Army.

Left for dead and abandoned when the Union Army retreated and left 2,000 plus wounded soldiers to the rebels.

My Great Great was a POW on Belle Isle in Richmond, Virginia before being exchanged and returned to the Union Army, all the while receiving no medical care.

Once back north and in a military hospital, he was mustered out of the service.

For the rest of his life he carried that rebel bullet in his chest.

But he made it home and THEN got married and THEN fathered two daughters.

One of who was my great grandmother.

Shot through the lungs.

Left for dead.

Survives a Civil War era prisoner of war cap.

Then starts the line that led to me?

Miracle.

You want to stack any of these miracles up against each other?

You want to go to Vegas and get one chance to make a bet on any one of these miracles?

As far as I know, me and my wife have seven kids.

Shortly after getting the girls, they were all in the basement and they were fighting to beat the band over something.

I was frustrated.

I was mad.

I said to my wife they are all down there fighting.

WHY CAN’T THEY GET ALONG LIKE BROTHERS and SISTERS …….

I stopped in mid sentence.

I thought about it.

“Never mind,” I said.

I might not be the brightest bulb in the box.

But I like to think I am smart enough to appreciate miracles.

Sure there were miracles that created our kids.

They are other people involved with that.

I got no problem there.

I got no problem there because I got not problem with who I am and who my kids are.

Me and my wife had this big, odd, weird family.

It has a big, odd weird story.

My kids call me Dad.

I am not prepared to argue.

One miracle or another, I don’t care.

Love these kids very much and proud of what they have done and proud of the grand kids.

Love being a Dad.

Love being a Papa.

Love my wife being Grammy.

It has been rough.

It has been smooth.

Good times and bad times.

Like any other family.

I am lucky guy.