Beckett Beatitudes

Happy are those who have seen Godot
for theirs is the kingdom of the circus.

Beat are the Monks whose clapping
hands lack priggish-holy rhythm.

Privileged are those who ask
and can’t get no answer.

Rich are the old who hear
sweet silence coming near.

Beati are the ugly the down
and out whose beauty stuns.

Blessed are the homeless
their room in heaven made.

Happy the captured silent
who wear pork pie hats.

Blessed are the busted
whose crime is alive.

Rich are the poor so
free from distraction.

Lucky are the fall guys
the players in the play of the play.

Canonized are the sinners
free from all rules.

Wealthy are the workers
whose tools are not words.

Blessed are those who fail
for they have their degree.

Happy the ignored their
ignorance unsurpassed.

Abite the teachers who tried
and failed to teach nothing.

Blessed are those damned
to fame and taken amiss.

Directional

You must work at the edge
of an ocean to know
your ebbs and floods

the absurd churn
of the daily news
tar between your toes

my sister Barbara’s
handmade cards
poetry without steps

Eric gave me a card
wild stone staircase
like a waterfall

spilling down
a treed hill
shade and light

neither the top
nor bottom
shown

the strides switchback
rise this and fall that
at the same moment

one climbs up
one descends
one walks around

town
the park
the neighborhood

here and there
makes no difference
which way you go

there is no peak
experience
no all-time low

each section
its own part
fragment of time


The Blob

It absorbed all
who approached
near its lovely light
who hid there
clearly out of sight.

It was a blob, its blue dazzle
embraced, encased
in its light shell
all who posed for it.

Like the moon
it was one’s own
reflection mirroring
all who imitated.

Hand held, powerful
like the spermaceti
candle when it lit
half the Earth.

The other half
of course burned
in darkness but
safe from the blob.

Say It Isn’t So

Say it isn’t so
whisper in my ear
it’s so soon for you to go
stay young with me dear
don’t make me grow old

Say it isn’t so
blue eyes once so clear
freckles on your cheeks
falling disappear
your skin where soft as milk

I used to slip the clutch
voluptuous your lips
your grip so loose
say it isn’t so
that now you’ve let go

There is no instant
metamorphosis
when bliss gives way
to the fish flouncing
in the bucket on the pier

Say it isn’t so
we’re all out of bait
you can’t remember
our last happy date
the old commiserate

but must go down alone
say it isn’t so
the best time of the day
when your eyes close
peace comes a wave

bubbles at the shore
at the tideline we talk
unsure is it going out
or coming in
say it isn’t so

On So & So On

In the beginning
it was so
and so on

Soon sown
then three
to party

Grown from seed
and so on
the invitations.

So the old fisherman
though years since his
boat out on the water
still sold more fish
than he caught
and when asked
by the economist
how this could be so
said so few are called
but many who so choose.

To the Lighthouse

It was not a real
lighthouse tho near
the ocean in Hermosa
and hornful of warns

Sunday afternoons free
we listened to hot jazz
players coming together
& going this way & that

And nights were cats
in the lot out back
came for scraps
a tuba sized cook

tossed evenings we
could afford only
one drink and out
for a walk on the pier

in a fog or clear breeze
round midnight round
about midnight waves
breaking into ivory

silk blouses blowing
below to the empty
beach behind us
and Pier Avenue

and to The Lighthouse
its beacon leading
light sinking in the must
of music business.



The Hottest Day

Looking about for something cool to read,
for today is scheduled to be the hottest day,
and I recalled Hermann Hesse’s “Siddhartha,”
its beginning lines:

“In the shade of the house, in the sunshine of the riverbank near the boats, in the shade of the Sal-wood forest, in the shade of the fig tree is where Siddhartha grew up, the handsome son of the Brahman, the young falcon, together with his friend Govinda, son of a Brahman. The sun tanned his light shoulders by the banks of the river when bathing, performing the sacred ablutions, the sacred offerings. In the mango grove, shade poured into his black eyes, when playing as a boy, when his mother sang, when the sacred offerings were made, when his father, the scholar, taught him, when the wise men talked.”

Siddhartha, Hermann Hesse, 1922

Sounds cool, but Siddhartha,
as we now know,
had a long row to hoe
before attaining coolness.

Siddhartha might have been a member
of what Gertrude Stein named
“a lost generation”:

“One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh; but the earth abideth forever… The sun also ariseth, and the sun goeth down, and hasteth to the place where he arose… The wind goeth toward the south, and turneth about unto the north; it whirleth about continually, and the wind returneth again according to his circuits…. All the rivers run into the sea; yet the sea is not full; unto the place from whence the rivers come, thither they return again.”

Ecclesiastes, King James Version

The wise men in my youth
would have near
a cool drinking beer
to go with the flow.

Honeydew beach
and rollicking surf
in the morning
chores in the afternoon
sit out with the family
in the evening
when the sun goes down
in the shade of the olive
tree, the Chinese Elm
and the three carob trees.

Meanwhile, waiting for rain,
Walt Whitman:

And who art thou? said I to the soft-falling shower,
Which, strange to tell, gave me an answer, as here translated:
I am the Poem of Earth, said the voice of the rain,
Eternal I rise impalpable out of the land and the bottomless sea,
Upward to heaven, whence, vaguely form’d, altogether changed,
and yet the same,
I descend to lave the drouths, atomies, dust-layers of the globe,
And all that in them without me were seeds only, latent, unborn;
And forever, by day and night, I give back life to my own
origin, and make pure and beautify it;
(For song, issuing from its birth-place, after fulfilment, wandering,
Reck’d or unreck’d. duly with love returns.)

The Voice of the Rain, “Sands at Seventy,” Walt Whitman

Of course, “the voice of the rain” in places today
is not so quiet and “soft-falling,”
but seems on the attack;
something absurd
has been disturbed.

Likewise, the blue sky
and this week’s yellow period
we for months awaited
comes down today
like a cast iron lid
where we sit
like a cake
rising
in an oven.

Changing Fonts

Sometimes, mornings, sitting at the laptop, waiting for the groundwater to rise, words to develop, appear, as in a photographer’s darkroom bath, I play around backstage in the blog with fonts and settings and such as are available via the WordPress setup. The urge comes similar to that of wanting to move the furniture around in one’s pad, or rearrange the Picasso or Matisse paintings dotting the walls. Or move the plants around. I would tell you all how this is done (i.e. changing fonts), but I don’t want to be responsible for anyone crashing their blog and watching nine years of exceptional poetry or original street pics washed down the drain. And I’m not an expert, just an experimenter.

Anyway, you perspicacious readers with good eyes for this sort of thing might have noticed a number of changing fonts experiments this morning here at the The Coming of the Toads. And, effective with this post, I’ve switched the entire blog to new fonts: Playfair Display for the Heading Font and Fira Sans for the Base Font.

Other fonts I played around with this morning include EB Garamond, which I thought elegant but too light and tight, and Space Mono / Roboto, which I found fun and modern in a way one might be nostalgic for comics from the 1950’s. I thought Bodoni Moda interesting. But in the end, for now, anyway, I settled on changing sitewide to the Playfair Display and Fira Sans fonts. These are available via Global Styles in WordPress – at least in this, the “Seedlet” theme, they are available.

While my primary concern when it comes to choosing fonts is to find something simply easy on the eyes, I want the type to attract the reader without calling too much attention to itself. At the same time, I find the historical background of font development interesting. For example, looking up Fira typeface in Wiki, I found this:

“With the name Fira, Mozilla wanted to communicate the concepts of fire, light and joy but in a language agnostic way (sic) to signal the project’s global nature.”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fira_(typeface)

Joy! And not only that, but I found that Fira Sans is used by the governments of both New Zealand and Iceland – their “font of choice,” according to the Wiki page I consulted. Ok, ok – if it’s good enough for them…

Again, I’m not an expert, of much of anything, let alone fonts, but if one is to spend as much time as I do writing, typing, blogging, “publishing” (as it were), drawing, cartooning, doodling, it seems inevitable one’s interests will or might or should include typeface and type design. There you have it.

Display font derives from sign making, text typically larger than the text found in the body of what’s printed. It seems most display fonts were originally hand drawn. Of Playfair Display, I found that it’s a font created by one Claus Eggers Sørensen. Who knew?

One consideration choosing fonts and in fact doing anything on the blog these days, is the fact that readers are using all kinds of devices – desktops, laptops, tablets, phones – to access and read blog posts. So you want something that will lend itself to a variety of formats and devices. What you see is not always what you get.

The Coming of the Toads blog, which dates posts at least monthly from 2007, and which began as a kind of addendum to adjunct activity, has gone through a number of changes in “theme” (template) design over the years. (Has anyone noticed?) Currently, the blog uses a “minimalist” design open to the WordPress block formatting. This seems for now a good fit for the drift to ever more poetry posting I’ve been lately most interested in doing.

After the Fall

After the fall before it was all
over knowing all along wrong
from the start belief belittled
after awhile persistence paid
well and the interlude did not
feel like a slump who sat still
felt trapped and everyone all
worked overtime all the time
along the line here and there
a smile a smell a breeze even
if the windows wouldn’t open
not there not in that building
which like a fortress ship full
of pink dresses tight collared
pinched and pitched swollen
with wariness almost fearful
slow not quite sure diagnosis
acute nervousness jim-jams
and on pajama day all asked
who sits here without benefit
of knick-knacks pics of all the
kids the stout spouse keeping
house and at the all sporting
game asked in all seriousness
why do you all do what you
do and all could answer the
question without already all
knowing the answer plainly
clearly concisely in the land
of milk and honey hidden
behind partitions attached
to all the others in confetti
filled aisles tolerable hours
what a waste they all said
their baskets full of bread
but in the end the trends
the lines of best fit all fell
it was all about math all
along days numbered fell
they all fell and in falling
looked for a place to land
without breaking in pieces
some fell up some fell down
the ones who often played
the clown cried and claimed
all fell and all broke in the
office of the one doomed
it was like after a war all
fallen astrew forced hands
held together with screws.

Come, eschew the myth

Come, eschew the myth
of Dionysus,
the cafe with jazz aged
aperitif,
give me ice cream
to stimulate my spirits,
and a parlour guitar,
not bitter liqueur,
for my digestif.

Yes, let Bacchus
and his buddies
revel with the devil,
give me chocolate
raspberry swirl.

Don’t say, “Out of peaches
‘n cream, try a frosty
fruity pilsner.”
Ok, bait and switch,
if you can add a scoop,
please, and make it float.

The evening passes slowly
amidst dark cans clatched
down the dry alley where
sleeps Suzy with Sobrius.

Wait!

Who waits for Godot
(rhymes with da dough)
wants an oppo
waiting for the doe
in the dell –
won’t you wait with me?

Waiting for Godot
for Larry, Moe, & Curly Joe
for onomatopoeia to blow
its toupee into the tree
on a country road.

Waiting for snow
to cover the fallen
waiting for the obvious
and the obscure.

Waiting for a
tree to grow
pi to round
oh even
waiting for you.