Tuesday, September 30, 2014

"love poem"

love poem

between nine o'clock and midnight
five thirty a.m. and just past eight
those are the witching hours

when my phone won't stop buzzing
and neither will my skin
raw with your imagined touch

when you could never bear to touch me
and my cursed flesh would burn

and all the things i want to tell you
swirl around in my mind
and in the cigarette smoke at the bus stop
in the breath that rises to God
on a cold morning
like all my pick up lines are for His ears only
and not for yours

every hell the doorway to a higher heaven,
i want to tell you
like dante
you always know what i mean

sometimes we don't talk for days
because we already know
what we would have said

my skin buzzes anyway

i crawled my way out of the first one
like out of a fresh dug grave
and my finger nails were bleeding when
i finally found the frosted air above
i wasn't buried alive
but pulled myself, dirty,
from the frozen ground
and came to life

you know i didn't come back for you
but still,
it could be nice sometimes,
if we pretend

Mairi Graham-Shaw
© 2014

Image links to its source on Wiki Commons
"Bohley Eingeschlossene", ein Werk von Annemirl Bauer (1939-1989) aus dem Jahr 1984, in dem sie wegen ihres Eintretens für Reisefreiheit und für die Bürgerrechtlerin Bärbel Bohley aus dem Künstlerverband der DDR ausgeschlossen wurde

Copyleft: This work of art is free; you can redistribute it and/or modify it according to terms of the Free Art License. You will find a specimen of this license on the Copyleft Attitude site as well as on other sites.

Monday, September 22, 2014


Today: a suspended chord hovering between two open doors….

thru one the eggplants & tomatoes & peppers hang on their vines & absorb whatever sun breaks thru; the pears that were out-of-reach are still ripening yellow & falling; the zinnias are orange & magenta in the herb bed by the oregano, itself blooming white….

thru one the willow & cottonwood leaves are turning & starting to fall in the breeze—yellow raincoats strewn across the gravel driveway—the small apples at the fence line are ripening & dropping too….

This morning: the twilight’s first pale blue is a scar across the night where the horizon’s wrist folds into the sky’s hand curving black & starry overhead….

Night isn’t really infinite, it’s just a hand that’ll lift us into prehistory; the stars are so many diamonds compressed from wishes & memories & prayers swirling away ….

The moon shrinking white & quiescent into the last quarter, rising late in the night & wandering thru the afternoon sky between the clouds….

Summer was a waking daydream—even the short night’s a daydream of heat & smoke & crickets, & falling asleep in the daylight—here at the western brink of Mountain Time where the sunlight lingers almost into tomorrow (which never comes)….

& the pears we couldn’t reach hang on the boughs for a short time yellow & ripe….

Autumn will be a wakeful night, the cold light of planets & constellations burning back thru time—a thousand thousand lighthouses burning in a dark sea you won’t cross except in the thoughts that carry you thru the nighttime….

Today—briefly—a balance as day & night both leave their doors ajar—a suspended chord hanging between the stars glinting like pinpricks glittering thru black fabric & the leaves glinting yellow & slick as the sun breaks thru….

A balance—the blue scar of morning’s twilight a tightrope you’re walking between the day & night—

A tightrope—balanced on the streak of magenta—a wound between the horizon & the gray clouds at sunset—

A stasis that doesn’t last—a chord that could ring chilling or hopeful between the stars & the horizon & between the sunlight & the cottonwood leaves all falling yellow, & the chord asks to be resolved….

Jack Hayes
© 2010

[In the interest of full disclosure: this was written in 2008 when I was still living in Idaho - hence "Mountain Time" - & has been posted on the blog in the past, but not for some years. In addition, it can be found in my poetry collection The Spring Ghazals.] 

Image is from the 15th century "Nuremberg Chronicle, " Michel Wolgemut, Wilhelm Pleydenwurff - public domain

Friday, September 12, 2014

"The Jitterbug Waltz" – Jazz on Nylon #4

Some wonderful music for your Friday listening pleasure!

It occurred to me a while back that if I was going to run a series called Jazz on Nylon, there were a few players who simply couldn’t be omitted. While the series so far has focused on guitarists who aren’t as well known, & while that may continue to be the focus going forward, I don’t want to simply overlook the handful of guitarists who’ve made a significant reputation for themselves in the jazz world while playing a classical guitar as their main instrument. Of course Charlie Byrd has to be high on that list,

Although Charlie Byrd began playing guitar as a boy on a regular steel string acoustic, he began studying classical guitar after being discharged from the army in 1945. In the 1950s he studied with Sophocles Pappas & then later with the great Andrés Segovia. Byrd’s first major engagement was a European tour with Woody Herman’s Herd in 1959—this version of the Herd also included Vince Guaraldi & Nate Adderly. Also around this same time Byrd began to develop an interest in Bossa Nova, & he & Stan Getz recorded the seminal Jazz Samba in 1962 for Verve Records. Byrd’s passion for Bossa Nova continued throughout his career, & you can hear him playing such classics as “Samba de Orfeu” & “Corcovado”on YouTube.

Unlike the other guitarists featured so far in this series, Byrd really didn’t work as a soloist. He collaborated with many notable players, including his work with Herb Ellis & Barney Kessel in Great Guitars. But his standard format was the trio, as in this video; & as in this video, his bass player was often his brother Joe Byrd.

“The Jitterbug Waltz” is a true jazz classic. Written by the great Fats Waller, who first recorded it on Hammond organ in 1942, the song was reportedly inspired by some piano exercises his son Maurice was studying. Waller is a giant in the jazz world. Although he was known for his comic persona & his novelty songs like “All That Meat & No Potatoes” & “Your Feet’s Too Big,” he was a masterful composer & a virtuoso both on piano & organ.

Byrd’s rendering of the song is just lovely—plenty of swing, as well as the great warmth & clarity of tone for which he is always noted. Hope you enjoy this beautiful music.

Image links to its source at

Monday, September 1, 2014

Photos of the Month – August 2014 (Guys & Gals of Summer Edition)

A shot from the bleachers at Erv Lind field as the Giants & A's square off in a BoomerPDX game

Something a bit different with photos of the month this time around. First, not all of the photos were taken by me; second, not all of the photos were taken this past month; & third, even those that were taken by me don’t fit the usual criterion of being the “best” photos I took in the month. But they do illustrate very much what my August has been about—& indeed, my spring & summer in general.

The 2013 D'Backs team photo - however the 2014 team had the same players

As you’re aware if you know me at all or follow the blog closely, I started playing softball again last year after an 11 or 12-year layoff & despite dealing with a respiratory condition with the 50-cent name of Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency. Last year I played in an over-50 men’s league in the summer, & then joined a regular adult co-ed league in the fall. Needless to say I was the oldest player on that latter team! This spring I entered another adult co-ed league, & that team—which had some players from the fall team—has coalesced into a wonderful group that has continued to play not only in spring, but also summer weeknights & will continue into the fall. In fact, we finished an undefeated summer season by securing the league championship.

The Underhanded Compliments on opening evening of the Summer League (14 of 15 players)

Underhanded Compliments, League Champs 2014 - such a hot evening! I was as tired as I look!

I also came back to the same team in the over-50 league, & while we went somewhat to the opposite extreme (2 wins, 10 losses), it still was fun. Despite my physical issues, I played every inning of the 11 games I was able to make at third base, & acquitted myself respectably in the field. We played our last game this past Sunday (a 12 to 4 loss).

A Giants hitter squares off against the A's pitcher. We had some roster issues this summer, so the Giants had to supply a catcher in this game to give the A's a full squad.
Seconds before a home run - this A's hitter took this pitch well over the left field fence!

Of course there are serious logistical problems with taking photos while one is actually playing, so the photos from the over-50 league are from the first game of the weekly doubleheader—there are only four teams in the BoomerPDX league. We get to play in a small stadium—Erv Lind field (part of Normandale Park), which is also where the Portland State Women’s fast pitch team plays.

The Entrance to Erv Lind Stadium
Otherwise, there are various team photos to “flesh things out,” as it were, as well as a photo of Irving Park, where the co-ed team plays.

Irving Park - the scene of spring, summer & fall softball adventures

I can’t stress often enough how grateful I am to still be playing softball on the eve of my 58th birthday. It’s not that I was ever an outstanding player—average in my prime, I certainly have lost speed, stamina, reflexes & so forth over time. But I think I somewhat compensate for these deficiencies by just being more relaxed about everything (as I’ve mentioned before in other softball-related posts.) & gratitude does help keep things in perspective!

I happily serve as team captain for my co-ed team, & on the night of our championship, they gave me this baseball shirt. I was so touched by this gesture!

Hope you enjoy this little album.

Who'd a thunk it?