Friday, February 25, 2011


shallow dive rescue
alone, hungry, soft whistle
time for your bottle

Baby Taz was found stranded and abandoned last month near Sanibel Island, Florida. Nursed to health, the little bottlenose finds a new home at the Indianpolis Zoo.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

dance of the cuckoos

A thousand piece jigsaw puzzle. That was the prescription the fat little doctor wrote out for Edgar's short fuse. 'Concentrate on one thing, Edgar. Relax,' the doctor ordered, blue-eyeing over the top of his spectacles. Edgar looked at the scribble on the RX Prescription once more as he towered over little children in the toy section.

Took him three days to get going on it. He picked an easy one - a barren landscape, after the Great Thaw. A couple gray trees standing, one fallen tree, a raccoon hideout. He hovered over the brown landscape on the kitchen table, shushes his wife humming the dishes dry, last Autumn's dead hanging plant outside on the patio over her shoulder. She huffs it out of the kitchen. 'You're no Renee Fleming,' he murmurs under his breath. She deadpans, 'Well, how do you do, Henri Matisse,' pointing at the puzzle box top, exiting the squeaking, swinging kitchen door. 'Gotta get that oiled,' the man says. 'I need to get oiled too.'

He rose from the couch on the second morning, a Sunday, his suit-cased wife already 100 miles gone on Route 51. Knocking over an empty fifth bottle that was a self-prescribed, mathematical antidote for being too tense, beget a Rube Goldberg Ballet - the crashing bottle startled the sleeping dog and she lunged at Edgar, cobweb-eyed, losing his center of gravity, reeling into a delicate, repetitive back-step, crossing the threshold of a two-way fluttering kitchen portal, regaining his composure for one second, only to be knocked by the unforgiving squeaky door once more, flung unto the kitchen table, a wobbly, shored-up leg giving way, the ultimate collapse, a large puzzle section folding over him, wayward pieces showering his disbelieving pride. Concentrate on one thing, Edgar, echoed in his pounding headache.

The sorrowful-eyed dog grasped in its slobbered jaw the carefully folded note of a parting shot from Edgar's wife and surveyed the damage. Dropping the note at the lap of Edgar, she moseyed over to her empty water dish.

The Dance of the Cuckoos

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Wind Will Carry Us (1999)

a bowl of fresh milk

In The Wind Will Carry Us, written and directed by Abbas Kiarostami, with stunning, exquisite, cinematography by Mahmoud Kalari, three filmmakers from the big city journey to a remote village, seemingly a catacomb built into the side of a mountain, to stealthily document a primitive funeral ceremony of a 'hundred year-old plus' woman. One problem: she hasn't died yet. And the sooner the complaining men can complete their mission and return to Tehran, the better. They have lives after all.
I'm reminded of the funniest film ever made, It's A Gift (1934), with W.C Fields, where he plays a grocery store owner somewheres in Jersey dreaming of buying an orange ranch featured in a brochure in sunny California with the inheritance from his wife's clinging-to-life Uncle Bean. Bean's death means California, Here We Come! But Kiarostami's film is no comedy(except for a murmured wish for a pickax to hurry things along). The old woman's death we can go home.

And so they wait. And watch. But we are shown only one of the visitors, Behzad - or 'The Engineer,' as any visitor from the outside world is named by the villagers. Behzad, the only one attempting to blend in to daily life, is guided by Farzad, a young boy dedicated to his school work, told only that the visitors are here to look for treasure, and the main informant on the well-being of the old woman. Kiarostami has us watching Behzad react much like we watch invalid Jeffries spying on creepy Thorwald in Hitchcock's Rear Window (1954). The mystery to why these strangers have arrived is slowly peeled back. It is turtle-slow going, around 40 minutes in, until we begin to understand why these filmmakers have ventured 450 miles from Tehran. Kiarostami never shows us who Belzad is talking to most of the time. In fact, the only place in the village Belzad can communicate to the outside World with his mobile phone is by standing in the elevated silent graveyard. We ride with him there many times in glorious vistas of wind-swept fields of gold. And so, amongst the invisible, we listen closer to conversation it seems. And what we hear is poetry - literally. Iranians often sprinkle poetry into everyday conversation, and this film has a generous heaping, including the film's title from the legendary Iranian poet Forugh Farrokhzād (1935-67). My favorite poem is a stanza from Omar Khayyam’s Rubaiyait, quoted by a wonderful nature-loving doctor on a motorcycle:

They tell me the other world is as beautiful as a houri from heaven!
Yet I say that the juice of the vine is better.
Prefer the present to those fine promises.
Even a drum sounds melodious from afar.

The heartbreak of a broken friendship ensues after young Farzad innocently answers inquiries about an uncle's departure. 'I can not tell a lie,' the boy states. The uncle's leaving is a signal to Behzad's impatient crew the old woman's health is improving. After belittling the boy, Behzad attempts to apologize later to no avail. Sometimes poetry is unforgiving. One day, Behzad, seeking some fresh milk for his tea in a dark cellar, discovers the real wonder in being alive, not waiting around for someone to hurry up and die, for some funeral ritual.

My first Iranian film.
Written exclusively for
The Iranian Film Blog-a-thon

Friday, February 18, 2011


purple pastel morn
woman's gold heart shatters stone
new spirit dawning

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


'Curious curio.'
'Watch. I fill it with salt. There. Now upend it.'
'Pepper! But how?'
'Aw. I do not know. I tried pepper, and it shakes salt.'
'Where did you find this?'
'I swiped it from a cabinet at Willow Manor when she wasn't looking.'
'It is a dark haunt. That groundskeeper. Peter Lorre reincarnated.' Shudders.
'You're telling me. I says, "lovely day." He says, "yes, sir, for the living."'
'Do you see the vision of a covered bridge under the cap?'
'I never noticed. Good eye.' He looks at her. 'Yes, no doubt - it's the covered wooden bridge over the shallow frozen brook leading to the manor.'
Silence, followed by the sound of pebbles hitting the roof like a hail storm. And...silence. She looks at him.
'I believe you better return it,' she whispers.
'I believe you are right.'
'Will you go with me?'
'You are kidding!'

Friday, February 11, 2011

heart haiku

shooting stars ablaze
love's two-step gazebo dance
Victrola splendor

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

birthplace of the blues

'Now if you folks look out to the left, that's the very house where the infamous Tale of the Magpies began one years ago yes'm.'
'Can we stop?'
'No Ma'am, we gots to keep movin.'
'We just gots to. But right there in the basement of that there house with no number is where it all began - One table. One piece of paper. One 40 watt lamp. One half-chewed yellow pencil. One crazy lady. Dang!'
'Crazy as a vagabond stew with too many vegetables. Well look whats it become. Dang nearly a hunnerd cars stoppin' by at a last second deadline. Even from India. Dang! Traffic tied up. Horn honkin.' Droppin' sealed envelopes most likely full of barely de-sife-er-able man-u-scrips down a metal pipe in back. Lady with black eyes loose in their sockets sittin' at her desk knifing them open nicking herself bloody sortin' and linin'em up on a cork board snappin' photos for all the blazin' world to see. Even from India. Dang. Right there in that basement. What she oughta do is throw'em in the fireplace for warmth.'
'I heard she has a place in the country, driver.'
'Of course, yes'm. Some Manor way out in the willows. They say she rides in and out only at night on her '56 Schwinn wearing her flight cap and goggles just like...what's the name of that poor lady that got lost at sea?
'Amelia Earhart?'
'Yeah. Yeah. Could be her according to my brother-in-law. He delivered some pizza bread there once. I think people drop stories down that pipe at all hours just to see if'n true.'
'Have you seen her?'
'No one ever'n see her.'

The car slows two blocks up, hesitantly pulls into a driveway knocking over a metal trash can, dogs barking, car backs out and stalls, restarts with a black smoke backfire, drives by once more, slower, necks craning.

Friday, February 4, 2011

light bulb

Haiku. No! Hai-ku!
she's quick, not born yesterday:
"Gesundheit, Baby!"

photo credit: google search, unknown

Thursday, February 3, 2011

the ice storm

A fragile tree limb burdened by the weight of blue ice collapses, stabbing the heart of winter, resembling the neck of Buddy Holly’s guitar bolt upright like a weathered fence post in a scorched wintry field.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

the wall

Return my beloved
wall of deceit shall vanish
brick by moss caked brick
11,041 vagabonds plus:
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