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.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Tipping my cap to David Halberstam today...

Very strange. Last night, before going to bed, I happened to pull his book
THE TEAMMATES (about Ted Williams and pals) out of storage and read a few passages before going to sleep. This morning, out of habit, I checked the sports page online upon waking and found that he was dead. Such a shame. I always liked reading him - not only for his talent for the Truth, but admittedly for the fact that he, like me, had both spent some college days at UMaine and hung his hat in Los Angeles.

Beyond his classic, SUMMER OF '49 and other works (or the occassional TV interview, if you didn't know what kind of journalist this guy was - read the links below. Of course, this was in another bygone America, when heroes were more than ballplayers and News Organizations would actually let you report on a war.

BOSTON -- Red Sox legend Johnny Pesky reacted with sadness when told of the news that legendary author David Halberstam died in a car accident in California on Monday.
Pesky, along with Ted Williams, Bobby Doerr and Dominic DiMaggio, was featured in a stirring 2003 book by Halberstam titled "Teammates: A Portrait of a Friendship."
With enriching detail, Halberstam described the bond of four men who not only played together on the Red Sox, but grew up together, and remained friends their entire lives.
"He wrote the book about the four of us and it was very flattering," said Pesky, speaking from Fenway Park during Monday's Red Sox-Blue Jays game. "I know it was a best-seller for a number of years. I was very sad to hear this happened. Just a fine man. A great reporter, a great writer, he did everything that possibly a good human being could do. He was just an outstanding man. I feel really badly about this. I haven't talked to Dominic or Bobby yet, but I hope to tonight when I go home."

The book represented a must-read for baseball fans everywhere, particularly on the heels of Williams dying in July 2002. The riveting read gave generations young and old an in-depth glimpse into Williams, and three of his closest friends.

Pesky didn't know Halberstam until the book project, but instantly was impressed.
"He talked exceptionally well. He had that great voice," said the 87-year-old Pesky. "I've heard him speak other places. He was spell-bounding. Just an outstanding man. I met him because of the book."

After the release of "The Teammates", Pesky, Doerr and DiMaggio did some appearances with Halberstam. "He wrote the book, and how that came about was Halberstam was in Florida when Dominic was there," said Pesky. "Halberstam found out Dominic was in the area so he called him and Dominic invited him over to the house and that's how this book came about. He talked to Dominic and Dominic told him we were going to go to Florida [via car] to see Ted. He said, 'Boy, this will be a great book."

The drive that Pesky and DiMaggio took from New England to Florida to visit an ailing Williams is a memory captured forever by Halberstam. Though Halberstam wasn't in the car, he did enough in-depth reporting with Pesky and DiMaggio to make readers feel that he was.
"I really feel bad about this," said Pesky. "Here's a guy who wrote a great book about four old guys, they tell me it was a best-seller."

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Coffee and O.J with local flavor...

Wake up and smell the ignorance. It was Monday morning and my wife didn't know why my jaw had dropped into my java. Gulp. We had just done our sleepy-eyed morning walk down to Culver City's Conservatory of Coffee, and were enjoying the fresh-roasted brew and view of our fellow city stumblers when I saw her. Forty-something. Upscale, well-coiffed and accessorized and put-together, having a smiling, lively conversation with her friend as they she got into the coffee line. In an O.J. Simpson jersey. Not an ironic, snarky "FREE O.J". t-shirt. No. A vintage, limited-issue, long sleeved, very expensive-throwback kind of jersey. 32 in putrid yellow on a field of maroon blood red. (Sorry - couldn't resist the overkill.) I had to explain to my wife that "No, no. It is THAT Simpson."
I was stunned that somebody so apparently all-there would go there. HERE. In the city where it happened. Where was Fred Goldman when I needed him? He could tell her everything that was wrong about it. He might even get through to her or get an answer as to Why Her and Why That Outfit? Who was I to ask and what could I do... except tell you.

Frankly, my head is still shaking - and it's not the caffeine. Maybe she has her reason. Then again, maybe she should use some. Or maybe she likes scream in her coffee.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Monday, April 02, 2007


Lumber, next exit.

This clever billboard has long been one of my favorites. And it quite sums up where we are with this blog: bored.

So, when in doubt, reinvent! We're mixing things up here on Wheeling (because if we didn't, we'd definitely never come for a visit, let alone post something).

To give you a taste of the new direction and kick things off, here's some bus poetry, meaning it was written on the bus by our very own N8theSk8. Enjoy!

twenty four play
Wilhelm Reich's
A 110 year-old Willi
still he
looks for redemption
in this Armored Age
where the erection
of monuments to troublemakers
never happens
in time
for them or for us

so go
you messed up, sexed up masses
huff and puff
put your lips together
sextinguishing their flame
and their wishes for us all

in the dark