11,041 vagabonds plus:
He died 38 years ago today after the plane he chartered clipped a singular pecan tree at the end of a runway in Natchitoches, Louisiana, following a concert. 5 others on board, including his accompanist Maury Muehleisen, also perished.
Jim and his melodies were a big part of my life. I played his albums almost every day after school. I even had a blue denim workman's shirt like he always wore on album covers and in concert. Fascinating - a man in a work shirt with 'Cat' emblazoned on it singing tender love songs.
Some criticized his songs for being so short, but he responded by explaining he was an admirer of....you guessed it....Haiku. Really.
Songs of love and remembrance
For more haiku, visit the wonders at 'recuerda mi corazon,' exclusive home of Haiku My Heart.
She was vagabondias specularis, an elusive species, a reluctant homecoming queen back in high school, voted Most Likely To Wander The Road Not Taken, the coed that crept through my dorm window in that freshman orange October to choose one of my flannel shirts, as she said it felt like a mans flesh against her goose pimples. She'd don my coke-bottle glasses to perform her take on our Philo prof, Mr. Ginsburg, lisps and palsy twitches, and I'd applaud at the blurry figure through the special effects lens of blindness and she'd take a sweeping bow, her long Audrey Hepburn hair brushing the stage.
I loved her, and she constantly worried about me. She was the only person I let call me Phillip, it thrilled me each time she said it as nobody knew my name. And I loved buttoning up the flannel and loosening her mane from the collar. When the zealous dorm monitor with the buzz haircut got wind and sniff that a real live vagabondias specularis had invaded our forbidden hall, he'd go around pounding on the doors, and when he reached mine she'd lower her voice and respond, 'so right here, move along now.' We'd hold our breaths, hardened criminals, and after the all-clear we clutched each other tight all night by the frost air of the open window, campus sidewalk lights brilliant below. We'd rise early on Saturdays, knockout our studies on the deserted second floor of the library, then have the entire weekend plus Mondays carefree. Eventually we drifted away from each other, she ever restless, seasonal colors seeped down the drain, no birds in sight, and there was her smiling face on flyers tacked to telephone poles, but I knew she was just fine as she came out into a clearing at the end of the World.
as long as I'm dreaming
A hint of thunder approached within earshot, and along with black coffee, promised uninterrupted sleep. But gray clouds disintegrated and a full silver moon floated above the peaceful valley illuminating the blanketed night sky.
A train with a million graffiti-ed cars trudged along the gravel road crossing at nine miles an hour, and nodding off I dreamt abandoning my car, hopping the train like Kerouac in slow motion and watching time come to a stop.
There was a singular flag-marked grave at a cemetery along the way, a grass-less resting place of our small town's only eighteen-year old boy taken by a road side bomb from a country on the other side of the universe. He is next to his grandfather, also forever eighteen after perishing in the war to end all wars. It all reminded me in my doze that I needed to bulldoze all monuments dedicated to any war.
A dark stranger sporting a snake blocked the cemetery gate not allowing me to enter. I could not tell at first if the snake was smiling at me or just looking forward to the next meal. I guess it's all the same. In a snake's eye I'm guessing I looked like a juicy three swallow gazelle. I eliminated the middleman and blurted out to the fangy creature that I could converse with magpies. Boy, that changed the eight-footer's expression, like it just mistakenly got billed for filet mignon after only having toasted cheese and soup at a crowded lunch counter. So confused, it snapped off the silent stranger's neck. Luckily, chatty magpies are a snake's nemesis, and I didn't mind all the talk as we circled the courthouse square tower, the bell signalling that time started once again.
dream rendered by
The Snake Charmer
~Henri Rousseau 1907
simple gifts haiku
Pure nostalgic heart
Acoustic songs, timeless jokes
Ye Olde 5-7-5 scribbled for 'recuerda mi corazon,' exclusive home of Haiku My Heart.
the horror of willow manor
Do not be alarmed. I must tell this story to someone. I am from the dead. Perhaps, yes, I am familiar to you. I have that kind of face. It was the lightning strike through the open north window here. Not that a closed window would've helped. Or maybe being flung head first into the wall as you can see by the damage. That really set her off even though smoke was still pouring from my ears. In a flash it was all over for me, and now I stand before you amongst the horror.
She wanted this vestibule to the Manor ballroom painted in time for the soiree. Soirée. A word I never used before taking one to the temple. She was firm. Make the paint dry fast, she said. I'd like to paint your clock, I says under my breath. You think, Lady, that with a scorched soul I can perform miracles? Returning from the Dead is no miracle. It's a curse.
I'll show her. I'll haunt this place once I vaporize for good. Slam doors while she's painting her toenails and she'll have streaks to her knees. Piling furniture into a corner. That's straight from the manual. Oh yes, there's a manual. It was inside that portal of the Manor frame. There must be other Dead on the property. I'll keep it in my back pocket. 1001 Tricks For The After Hours. I better go now. My left hand tends to fall off. Makes holding the roller quite difficult. The horror of this place is coming. That brisk heavy traipse. I highly doubt if she'll offer a plate of diagonally sliced egg salad sandwiches and a tall frosty lemonade.
painting: The Revenant (1949)
nine eleven haiku
Out of pristine blue
Two darts pierce proud country's hearts
Gasps to grasping hands
surviving pear tree
recovered from 2001, ground zero
replanted at 9/11 Memorial site
photo by Amy Dreher
17 heartbeats etched for 'recuerda mi corazon,' exclusive home of
Haiku My Heart.
For Sale: Cast iron kitchen sink planted in acreage with tiniest storm damage. Solid picnic table top. Legs probably over in next county. Find them they are yours. Also: one truck tire. Excellent tread! Free if you haul away yourself (Bring shovel and hydraulic jack). Any offer. Everything must go.
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