Archive for the ‘Poetry’ Category

Three little digits

January 22, 2020

Today’s Wayno/Piraro collabo, another little exercise in cartoon understanding:


(#1) (If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 2 in this strip — see this Page.) Wayno’s title: “Number, Please”

No doubt you recognize the speaker as Satan / the Devil / Beelzebub, but the cartoon will still be incomprehensible unless you know that there’s a particular three-digit number that’s sometimes said to belong to Satan.

Pursuing this topic on my man Jacques’s birthday, today, will lead us, through a favorite verse of his, on a circuitous route passing through a mysterious British village, Chicago, and Santa Monica, on its way to the Big Gay Village, where men hug, spoon, and screw. (There will eventually be a content warning. I’ll warn you when the screwing is imminent.)

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Rent Spikes / Stoke Dread / By the Sea

January 19, 2020

That’s the head:

Rent Spikes
Stoke Dread
By the Sea

The subhead:

Coney Island Businesses
Fear Being Priced Out

The story is that increases in rents have promoted anxiety on the part of seaside business owners on Coney Island.

This from the national print edition of the NYT on the 15th (p. A19), story by Aaron Randle.

A story I have then playfully travestied:

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At the rim of the Mournful Valley, singing

January 16, 2020

(About other things as well, but centrally about my life, which some readers might just find annoying and want to avoid.)

January 16th today. At the very rim of the Mournful Valley. From my 1/21/15 posting “Antonio Soler and the Mournful Valley”

Not long ago, WQXR [NYC FM radio station specializing in classical music] played some keyboard sonatas by Padre Antonio Soler, a favorite composer of mine since my student days at MIT but one not especially widely known. That tweaked bittersweet memories of those days in Cambridge MA, especially powerful at this time of the year, in what I’ve come to think of the Mournful Valley of Mid-Winter, in between January 17th, the anniversary of Ann Daingerfield Zwicky’s death ([in 2020, the 35th anniversary; she died at age 47]) and January 22nd, my man Jacques Transue’s birthday ([in 2020, his 78th]; Jacques died in 2003) — and with celebrations of love, for Valentines Day, very much in the air.

In the context of the Mournful Valley, VDay is definitely bittersweet. On the one hand, I’ve been alone since 1998, when J went into a dementia care facility. On the other hand, VDay is Elizabeth Daingerfield Zwicky’s birthday, and that makes the holiday a very big thing.

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The images quilt

December 15, 2019

The last in a set of four; the linguistics quilt, from the 19th, is its predecessor. As before, a 12-panel composition (roughly 6 x 3 ft) made of old t-shirts of mine, assembled into a quilt by Janet Salsman, with the collaboration of Elizabeth Daingerfield Zwicky and Kim Darnell (and photos by Kim).  This time, t-shirts with images that have pleased or entertained me:

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Now the 12 panels individually, by row (R) and column (C).

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The existential question

October 11, 2019

In today’s Zippy strip, Zerbina and Zippy contemplate their existence — ever an issue for self-aware cartoon characters:

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How do we know we exist? And if this perilous sort of existence, created in the mind and (literally) at the hands of an artist, fails to be validated by those in the outer, non-cartoon, world, are we nothing but a dream (sweetheart)?

Perhaps a concern for all of us, but especially pointed for cartoon characters. Who will speak for them, especially now that Mad Magazine is gone?

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Blue and black at the Gamble Garden

August 15, 2019

In anticipation of a visit to Palo Alto’s Gamble Garden with motss.conners on Saturday, two items from my last visit to the garden (on 7/31): blue flax-lilies, which are neither flax nor lily plants, but do have bright blue berries; and dark purple, almost black, hollyhocks.

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4th of July displays

July 6, 2019

(Much about men’s bodies and mansex, in street language, so not for kids or the sexually modest; also about military displays for Independence Day, but that comes after the raunchy stuff — Erst kommt das Fressen, dann kommt die Moral.)

So we have the 4th of July as a celebration of commercial mansex (every holday is a sales opportunity): selling premium men’s underwear by hawking men’s bodies; and offering gay porn sales, usually with a holiday-themed image (naked bodies wrapped in the flag are a conventional presentation, but there are many other possibilities). From this year’s rich crop of ads, I’ve chosen one of each type: a holiday ad for DJX homowear in the Trough line; and an ad for the political-satire gayporn film Cauke for President from TitanMen.

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Am I a bird?

July 4, 2019

The 7/3 Rhymes With Orange takes us to the Home for Aged Superheroes, where Superman is unsure of the volant creature he sees in the mirror and fears he’s going blind, or slipping into dementia (an unusually poignant theme for a cartoon):


(#1) In the land of the caped superheroes

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Portraits of Frank O’Hara

June 18, 2019

(Mostly about poetry and art, poets and artists, with some raunchy moments on men’s bodies and mansex, so kids and the sexually modest should steer clear, but not much about language, or for that matter music or plants or food — you can’t always get you want, but if you’re Frank O’Hara, you can probably get what you need.)

In the Village Voice on June 1st, a piece by by Peter Schjeldahl,”Frank O’Hara: He Made Things and People Sacred”, with the summary subhead:

In 15 years as a poet, playwright, critic, curator, and universal energy source in the lives of the few hundred most creative people in America, Frank O’Hara had rendered that world wholly unprepared to tolerate his passing [in a freak accident on the beach at Fire Island on 8/11/66, at the age of 40].

Schjeldahl’s appreciation will also let me cash in the promissory note in the Alice Neel section of my 6/6/19 posting “What makes the world go ’round?”:

The AZBlogX posting [of 6/6/19, “On the art patrol: Alice Neel, Larry Rivers”] has (in #2 there) a famously scandalous Larry Rivers painting of a naked O’Hara with a hard-on and workman’s boots and nothing else; I’ll get to it in a separate posting on O’Hara. Here, Neel’s takes on O’Hara, in two paintings from 1960 [a side view and a front view, both entirely SFW; with a quote from an O’Hara poem: “I was made in the image of a sissy / truck-driver”]

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What makes the world go round?

June 6, 2019

Today’s Zippy starts with Zippy and Griffy at Universal Studios Hollywood, reflecting on what is worthwhile in our lives:

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Griffy inventories some of his passions, in high culture and popular culture (including sports and food):

Beethoven, Alice Neel, Miles Davis, Tiger Woods, Ernie Bushmiller (the Nancy cartoonist), tuna melt

And Zippy, being a cartoon character,  follows with a catalogue of his own cartoon favorites:

Gerald McBoing Boing, Baby Huey, Yosemite Sam, Popeye the Sailor Man

Lots of stuff in these lists, but most of it is either in the cultural commons or treated in previous postings on this blog. The standout exception is the uncompromising portrait painter Alice Neel. She will lead us to a number of her subjects: the art critics Gregory Battcock and David Bourdon; the Greenwich Village eccentric Joe Gould; and the poet Frank O’Hara. It will end in naked men and some flagrant mansex, but I’ll warn you when this material looms.

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