Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Cheers to festive fourth!

Hello Friends & Family ...

Attached below is an article that describes one of my fourth of July heroes. Wouldn't it be nice if we were all together, sipping cold beer that's been iced all day in a converted horse tank, listening to Willie and Trigger?

I just picked up his 2006 book, The Tao of Willie, in which he talks about meditation, drinking water, writing damned fine songs and Poodie wisdom. In the section titled "The Man in the Mirror," Willie discusses the need to unearth your own nature, be true to yourself and not be "dazzled by your own bullshit."

He goes on to say: "My family, my friends, my music and my willingness to just be me have made me strong and carried me far. They are happiness in my heart ... Even when I'm far away, they're all with me. Especially when I look in the mirror."
The miles may separate us this 4th o' July but you will all be thought of fondly (is that better than fondled thoughtfully? hmmmm ...).

You are all happiness in our hearts!!
Kenya, Nathan Dana, Po and Jackpot (aka, Seven Lives Left)

Monday, June 18, 2007

Untitled Poem

by Woodrowe Barber

I've known a bunch of good cowboys
Also some good cowmen.
I've worked big herds of cattle
Where you had to read the brands.

I've seen some bad cold winters
You had to feed'em or they'd die.
But I've seen it rain in August
With the grass up to their eyes.

I've been bucked off some horses
I had to get back on and ride.
The work went on, you couldn't walk home
Also, I had my pride.

The honesty of a good cow horse
Is very hard to describe.
He knew his job, he did the work
I was just along for the ride.

Now it is just friends and family
The years roll on, but memories stay.
I hope they have good horses and wild cattle
When I'm tried for Judgment Day.

(You're on our minds and in our hearts Grandpa Woody)

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Bus Poem


Macias, the old, dead poet
wills the pencil to the page
from deep inside the casket

the sunflower
even torn from its stalk
still follows, attentive, the movement of the sun

the clams from Maine
taken from their tidy beds
west to Monterey
still open with the ebb and flow from way back east
their mute cries falling flat
on laboratory ears

and the corn never tastes as sweet
as it did in summer
at home
with you

Nathan Dana Aldrich

Monday, May 21, 2007

O.J and The Bus

(With apologies to Jerome Bettis...and football fans who don't glorify murderers)

So...less than a month after my O.J. and Coffee post, I got to see someone else sporting an O.J. Simpson jersey in public. This time on the Culver City bus. Even Johnny Cochran would be rolling over in his grave - laughing. "Hee-hee. Man, that race card beats everything else in the deck. Hee-hee, they're still buying it. And merchandise, too! If the glove don't fit...then buy the jersey! Damn - I was good." Which is more than you can say for his knife-wielding client - a guy who had more in common (money, celebrity, ego, entitlement, connections,"juice") with every white, millionaire limo-flashing scumbag in Beverly Hills than any young brother riding the bus. Seriously. The guy in the photo above probably spent the better part of his hard-earned weekly salary (ie. a couple of Bills) to champion the worst of all the Bills: a jealous, privileged, woman-abusing, murderous millionaire with blood on his hands and a Dream Team of lawyers to make it all go away. Talk about being Buffaloed. Doesn't he know Simpson wasn't innocent? That he carved up his wife the same way he knifed through all those NFL defenses? That people (women, especially), of all races and walks of life might not exactly appreciate his very public form of sartorial free-expression? Either he (and the woman in the coffee shop) doesn't know. Or, worse: THEY DON'T CARE. What's next? White boys and rocker girls busting out Phil Spector Throwback Jackets? Turnabout's fair play - but not justice...

Thursday, May 17, 2007

downtown adventures: the LA Library

i'd lived here for 14 years prior to venturing into our downtown library. suffice it to say that's just far too long.

but driving from breezy santa monica beach to downtown LA was never high on my list of priorities. now, however, i just hop on the Metro 33 or 333 along with something to read, a notepad and my blackberry and soon my city-powered chauffer drops me at Fig & Venice. once downtown, the Dashes take over with enviable frequency and cleanliness.

our 'brary is gorgeous, from the large courtyard with ample shade, to the vast atrium ... but the old section is the real glory. now the children's zone and also the locale for exhibits, you can still see murals originally hung in 1928.

get there prior to the end of July and check out the Getty Gallery's exhibit of Fred Marcellino's work. Marcellino illustrated the covers of some of my favorite books (Bonfire of the Vanities, Handmaids Tale) as well as Puss in the Boots (he'll be quite familiar as a member of Shrek's posse).

one more tip: if you go during the week, wear your swimsuit under you clothes and treat yourself to lunch at the rooftop bar of the Standard ... you'll have the pool -- and view -- to yourself ... perfect for devouring the books you just picked up!

Sunday, May 06, 2007

More mobile poetry

Eastbound Downtown 33

light falls heavy


long shadows
on the backs of us busriders
headed home
in the spring evening
our work on our shoes
under our nails
in our yawns
and the driver has miles to go
before eyes sleep

Nathan Dana Aldrich
April 2007

Monday, April 30, 2007

March 12 Venice Beach

March 12 Venice Beach

sitting on top of misplaced granite
i watch these wicked waves break with rocky New England bombast

the wavesplash
shockingly cold

the sky
a lie
of the summer yet-to-be

June and July don't exist now
and here
where cat-quick crabs magnetically move
over the stony jumble
amid my braincoral thoughts of other oceans
and the creature I will always be and
simultaneously of O'Neill
likewise haunted by the sea but oh-so-much-more unhappily
on the rocks
in the shadows
anemones hide, retracted from the sun
their purple pulpy arms pulled in
they wait
as I do
on powers moving

and on the Police Station behind the break
here's the evidence
of the power that can pour forth
poets' quotes soften the strongbronzed arm of The Law
carved like a surfer's wake
words on a curving wall
is it an epitaph after the fall
a funeral for what was or a plea for what could be?
not even the writers know
the future or the past of their prehistory
but at least they got in the flow and got it down so the moment would never get
wiped out
look up at that wall
see what lived in
sea and sand and sin
for better or for verse
Exene and Viggo
are still together there
and Jim Morrison makes his point - all stoned and concrete
these thoughts and their thinkers
some whole some beautifully broken
once so liquid and mutable
now stand fixed for all to see
under the iron V for venice
by the spray-painted dayglo

switzerland by way of payola

lots of chatter about carbon neutrality and the offsets market.

for the uninformed, a company or individual can estimate their output of greenhouse gases. then donations are made to projects designed to "offset" the emissions (tree planting, solar panel installation etc. and the options in the etc. category are growing daily).

the concern is that substituting dollars for deeds not only doesn't solve the rapidly increasing amounts of carbon dioxide spewing into the air, but that these programs actually distance consumers from the real problem at hand.

well, of course, it's a bit yes and no. yes, it does prevent the average consumer from getting their hands dirty by insulating them from tougher choices and real change. however, on the "no" side, mightn't it open the door to the many ways to add environmental consciousness to their lives?

so, let's salute the projects designed to diminish our wicked fossil fuel dependent ways. then let's keep recommending, pushing and suggesting, making it seem easy and natural to evolve. sorta like toning up the ol' bod: it's not just one long day in the gym that gets you there; it's more the daily, small shifts.

here's what we do know: you can get carbon-neutral real quickly when you break the habit of sliding your key into your saudi-powered mobile at every whim. simple, no?

time for a nice, long walk ...

Poetry In Motion

Hi. So, riding the bus has led to an off-and-on "discipline" in captive creativity, wherein I attempt to put the ride to good use and use the traveling time to write with the intent that the existence of this blog would encourage me to post the Observational Poetry results here. Someday soon, I plan to at least create a blog devoted to my poems (whether bus-borne or not) but scattered amid the next few posts, expect to find some poetry on display. (Consider this a warning.) I would like to say that each ride to work in the morning (or ride home) either results in a list of restaurant-things-to-do-today or a decent poem - but I'd be lying. And since the only good poem, or song, or story is a "true" one, hopefully these won't suck. Yeah - and hopefully the bus will pick me up on time...

Chronologically, here is the first one I wrote since joining the masses of mass transit.

Nathan Dana 5/29/07

they call it
Poetry In Motion
these poems posted on the city bus
today it's a good one
the stanzas rolling smoothly and steady-on and


suddenly obstructed

by the hulking Latino with the hoop in his ear

I wait.

No good. He won't budge. The poem stops. The bus moves.
My eye drops
from the poet to

a man in my grandfather's hat.
His head, from behind, recalls Nate in my mind. For a beat until
he turns and I see the difference. The door opens.

He walks off the bus

taking me
(for just a little bit)
with him

just like a good poem.