Report from the Starter’s Shack
Late Fall, Greendale Golf Course

(from the Chapter "LIFE", Songs of the Viking Life, 2015)

Posted Week of December 7, 2015

Cherry trees blooming in Washington DC - in December.  The John Hancock Tower in Boston agleam with sunlight and business people on the street hustling by in shirtsleeves.  It may be snowing in Denver but along the East Coast we are having a California Christmas.  This poem, written in 1999 to explain my childhood Christmases to my kids (all East Coast born), was first read at a holiday beatnik café party at their school.  My Son played the bongos to accompany the reading.  If you are East this year, come enjoy the moment of East meets West.  Check out the roses in front of the City Diner in Falls Church if you happen to be in DC or NoVA.


This poem goes well with a California Riesling, chilled, on a back balcony overlooking a snow free downtown parking lot, or with an impromptu Mega-Beerpong game  (with buckets of Corona) set up in a neighboring dog park.

There is a consultant, who lives on a ‘plane.
His phone and computer are his only companions.
He lives for the madness of client reactions,
    Waiting for bonuses he’ll never spend.


And as his phone rings he accesses his e-mail,
Thinkin’ about spreadsheets (and glasses of beer).
Accepting commitments to do more BD work,
He thinks of friends who are no longer near,
    And wonders if they’d like to hear:

“Hello, you Dot.Com Thousand-Aires, my colleagues whose net dreams went wrong;
Road warrior blues is the life that I choose,
So call on me when you need a friend,
    And the new dreams we plan will be

    grand.”

This April The Arlington Players, a Community group in its 65th year, produced "Nice Work If You Can Get It".  This extraordinary group of actors, stagecrew, orchestra, lighting, set and scene designers, costumers, and leadership did an oversized ("Yuge!") effort and achieved the amazing - selected as one of the top five shows in the Baltimore Washington Area - all others were Professional Theaters.


These extraordinary women and men inspired a few lines of poetry, as appear above.


Enjoy these little bits of contemplation while lying about in a cool breeze under a stand of trees with kelly green leaves.  Open a nice fresh Junmai Sake, some crispy snacks, and a stack of Broadway tunes from your favorite musicals. 

Christmas in California

(a previously unpublished work, (c) TertiusVicus, 2015)

Posted Week of December 14, 2015

‘Twas a Tuesday team dinner, in a Missouri Mall,
He enters with colleagues and orders a beer.
He sits with the clients, and nods in agreement,
    Knowing it’s their own words that they

    like to hear.

And as the talk wanders from projects to pilsners
He thinks of his children and love left behind.
Pulling his mobile, he walks from the restaurant,
He calls to his family so far and so dear,

    And through the static they hear:

“Goodnight my rascally children,
Rockabye sweet Laurie Ann.
Road Warrior Blues is the life that I choose
    I’ll be home for you soon as I can. And

    my love for you will never end.”

Three of us from the Ernest Borgnine Dancers attended a presentation of Werner Herzog's documentary of the production of an Opera season at Bayreuth.  The documentary was in German, and Werner proceeded to stand at a lectern for two hours and translate live into English for us, throwing in references to places, persons, actions, and his own deep love for and history with Bayreuth.


Afterwards he answered questions about his work (including his films and diaries set in the Amazon) and his eating of a boot to pay off a bet with a colleague.  Werner Herzog is an enigma of passion, a force of art and nature.


This poem goes well with a Rheinland Spatlese served in a treehouse, or a litre of Augustinerbrau served in a Munich beerhall during the height of Octoberfest.

A LITTLE BACKGROUND

A LITTLE BACKGROUND

APRIL IS NATIONAL POETRY MONTH

Musical Theater

The Sopranos soar, arching, wanting, kissing the heavens;
The Basses support them, lifting, aching;
The Altos weave a story, hinting, revealing;
The Tenors, entranced, enter and entwine the Sopranos in ribbons

Of love.

 
First Kiss

First kiss.  It lingers.
Promises left for the imagination.
Two paths diverge in the woods, and I,
I took the one …..

James Taylor's "Sweet Baby James", about a cowboy out on the range with his cows in winter contrasted with a modern day traveler with "ten miles behind me, and ten thousand more to go",  sets the mood for the Road Warrior's wandering thoughts.


That song was my companion while I worked one winter in Kansas City.  Lots of wide spaces, lots of miles of driving, and lots of snowy nights. 


The poem goes well with a hoppy ale or a California Syrah.

Christmas in California

White lights for the trees

White flock for their branches

White flowers for the bees


We surf on His birthday

Our tree, it's a Palm

We sing carols in short sleeves

And our love is still strong

Fall golf can be as beautiful and as it is devastating.  The trees, the mountains, the clear air, the direct sunlight that no longer shimmers but etches the vistas with Vermeerian precision.  Sunrise and sunset are particularly incendiary as the light splashes clarity into grand outline and illuminating detail both.


And then there are the lost balls.  Under leaves.  In the rough, in the sandtrap, in the fairway.  We all will swear the leaves see a ball coming and leap upon it as it slows to a stop.


This poem goes well with a Famous Grouse whiskey from a small shot bottle dug from beneath that fourth ball you pull from your bag, or with a steaming Brandywine as you tell the taller tales of the day at the 19th hole.

David Bowie

In Memoriam

(a previously unpublished work, (c) TertiusVicus, 2016)

Posted Week of January 11, 2016

Aphorisms for Fall

​October 2016


Cut your finger, counts the rings.

It is perhaps time to stand on the sidelines

And cheer.


Life is full of little bits of work, waiting to be trapped in our nets, and done.

A Good Book

(from the Chapter "BALANCE", Songs of the Viking Life, 2015)

Posted Week of November 23, 2015

November 9, 2015 Post

Reggae woman
With golden ‘dreds
Brings to me
My daily bread

In her eyes
A sea-blue smile
Upon her lips
A “Stay a while”

The coffee pours
The words they flow
All too soon
I have to go

Reggae woman
With golden rings
Because of you

The city sings

The Tears of Calgary: A Good Team Moves On

(a previously unpublished work, (c) TertiusVicus, 2015)

Posted Month of March 2016

A LITTLE BACKGROUND


It does not rain in Calgary
Say the natives.
But it rained this week, all week
Steady, sniffling, heartbreaking, gray.
Tears of Calgary for those leaving
The team.

Robert, Deano, Andrea, and now Cem,
Long time pillars of our work.
Stephens Street will miss you.
Goodbye to Mango Shiva,
So long to Saltlik and Sukiyaki.
Like the ice and snow melt of April, the
Red wine no longer flows
For you.

All will be missed
At Jugo Juice, at Starbucks,
At the Executive Lounges.
The drums of the Zoo are silent.
The video conference rooms on the 17th floor
Will echo with empty sighs
As the Tears of Calgary bid you

Good bye.

Reggae Woman

(from the Chapter "WORK", Songs of the Viking Life, 2015)

Posted Week of November 30, 2015

A LITTLE BACKGROUND

TertiusVicus - Writers and Publishers

David Bowie

In Memoriam

(a previously unpublished work, (c) TertiusVicus, 2016)

Posted Week of January 11, 2016

Werner showed wild in the rarefied Center,
Vines almost visible, growing to engulf us as

    he spoke his vision. 

Where in Europe did he find his fascination

    with the New World’s spirits? 
Civilization likes to break a thing, whether

    nature or man. 

 In him, Nature has struck back.

Werner will not sing for any man.  Do

    not even ask.
We hack at his jungle and cajole, we watch

    and try to prize out meaning. 


His jungle will not retreat.

A LITTLE BACKGROUND

The best stories
Act like a healer’s poultice
To draw out sorrow
And replace it with wonder.

The idea for this short poem in praise of stories came from a book of short stories I found in a random hunt for solace at the library.  The stories transported me.  They lifted, illustrated, calmed, and set me down again, ready to move on.  This poem goes well will a roaring fire and a Maker's Mark, neat, or a lone towel on the beach under slightly overcast skies with a shaker of  crushed ice and Myers Dark Rum.

A LITTLE BACKGROUND

A LITTLE BACKGROUND

David Bowie passed away January 10, 2016 at the age of 69.  His body of work left a mark across pop, rock, ballad, jazz, musicals, film, poetry, and visual imagery rivaling any 20th and 21st century artist. 


Lie back on a divan, turn on The Return of The Thin White Duke, light a smoke (your choice), and pour an absinthe.  Imagine the next thing you will do would be something of which you would not approve - and you may approach his ability to re-imagine himself, his art, and how he became the man who sold the world, to us all.  Then do it, to the music of David Bowie.  Good night, Sweet Prince, thank you for your final gifts of love and music.

Crawling through the airwaves
Dripping from the vinyl
Flying angelic valkyrie from the screen
Riding upon sounds intimately embracing

    deeply personal rhythms within each

        yet not connected to any

David Bowie lived.

Re-invent, then re-invent again
Become the kids who shock the older generation

     that we may become

 

The Life that I Choose
To be read to the tune of “Sweet Baby James” by James Taylor
(from the Chapter "WORK", Songs of the Viking Life, 2015)



The first is for a friend who had a 50th birthday, a concussion, and a broken arm, all in the same season for their touch football league.  Cheering and beering from the sidelines is a successful option at times.


The second is for us all who work.  Fall is a time of increased volumes of labor.  It is as if all PersonKind in the Northern Hemisphere found good reason to fill their days making work for others.


These go well with hot coffee mixed with Five Hour Energy in the morning, and a nice Seven Sisters Syrah (mulled) after 8 pm - because, yes, a Fall Day is that long for most of us.

David Bowie passed away January 10, 2016 at the age of 69.  His body of work left a mark across pop, rock, ballad, jazz, musicals, film, poetry, and visual imagery rivaling any 20th and 21st century artist. 


Lie back on a divan, turn on The Return of The Thin White Duke, light a smoke (your choice), and pour an absinthe.  Imagine the next thing you will do would be something of which you would not approve - and you may approach his ability to re-imagine himself, his art, and how he became the man who sold the world, to us all.  Then do it, to the music of David Bowie.  Good night, Sweet Prince, thank you for your final gifts of love and music.

A LITTLE BACKGROUND

An Evening with Werner Herzog at the Kennedy Center

(from the Chapter "LIFE", Songs of the Viking Life, 2015)

Posted Week of November 16, 2015 

So often we are on the road for weeks or months in the same city.  Most of us know the hotel staff better than we know our doctors or many of our friends (or at least the staff know us).  In the right city, at the right time, you find a cafe or restaurant that fits.  You get to know the staff - or just one person, one that stays with you. 


In Richmond there was such a person.  Vivacious, bright, engaging - and going places.  The mornings at her table where a delight. 


This poem goes well with a Kona, lots of cream, sugar, and refills, in a railroad dining car parked on a siding near an industrial strip by the river (think Portland, Peoria, or Poughkeepsie), or perhaps best read with an Irish Coffee at 4pm, done for the day.

Cherry trees blooming in Washington DC - in December.  The John Hancock Tower in Boston agleam with sunlight and business people on the street hustling by in shirtsleeves.  It may be snowing in Denver but along the East Coast we are having a California Christmas.  This poem, written in 1999 to explain my childhood Christmases to my kids (all East Coast born), was first read at a holiday beatnik café party at their school.  My Son played the bongos to accompany the reading.  If you are East this year, come enjoy the moment of East meets West.  Check out the roses in front of the City Diner in Falls Church if you happen to be in DC or NoVA.


This poem goes well with a California Riesling, chilled, on a back balcony overlooking a snow free downtown parking lot, or with an impromptu Mega-Beerpong game  (with buckets of Corona) set up in a neighboring dog park.

A LITTLE BACKGROUND

Calgary's heart beats and the world is energized.  Breathing the cold, crisp Midwestern Prairie air, the people of Calgary live a hearty, hardworking life between the empty spaces of the oil fieldsand the financial markets to which they are connected globally.  Planes the size of cigar tubes fly in from Chicago, Portland, Seattle, Vancouver, Toronto, and world capitals disgorging battalions of consultants and experts to support the local movers and shakers - a daily stampede of suits and boots. 


This poem is in honor of the exceptional people with whom I worked in Calgary, and from whom it was hard to part.  A great team is a once in a while thing and one to be cherished.  The poem is posted now on learning that a great friend and member of the team is saying his personal goodbyes to Calgary after ten years of work in the City for some major clients - a great man who has left his mark on the City.


Enjoy this poem with an aged beef steak and a strong Merlot.  Follow it with two desserts and a peaty Talisker to fight the cold.  Then head over to a Flames Gameand scream your head off. 

Christmas in California

(a previously unpublished work, (c) TertiusVicus, 2015)

Posted Week of December 14, 2015



I hear the grasses sleeping.

Gentle rustling snores under a blanket of

    browning leaves.
Dreams of summer sunrises, warming

    rains, ambling players
Perplexed as the longer blades playfully

    hide their soaring, slicing drives.

The grasses groan and shudder as they

    dream
Of the painful pinch when they are a part

    of a perfect divot,
Followed by a contented sigh as they

    imagine flight, freedom,


And landing to re-sod amidst a patch of

    new friends.