Thursday, April 30, 2009

Why Did the Camel Cross the Desert?

This is it! The last day of April. And do we think that all foolishness shall cease, now that April is passed? Naaa, probably not.

My daughter sent me one of the most informative, and conceivably helpful, articles ... you know those things people are always forwarding to you and 7000 others. Well, this one was received with great joy, and I might add, gratitude. It's How to Regain Control of a Spooked Camel. Of course, that's something I wanted to know.
Some of the most important points were (1) Stay calm, (2) Hang on, and (3) Consider a quick dismount. (4) Get off the camel once you have it under control sounded pretty good to me too.
So, all this camel business brought to mind, of course, Peter O'Toole, one of my favorite fellows in all the world, and the persona of Lawrence of Arabia.
Here's the man himself, I guess he's looking for his camel.

Many years ago, I saw Mr. O'Toole on The Tonight Show, giving the most hilarious account of his camel-riding experiences while filming the movie Lawrence of Arabia. After discussing the options, which were few, he and Omar Sharif decided to tie themselves to the camels. But Peter O'Toole said, "I really didn't feel enthusiastic about having myself adhered to a stampeding camel!" So he told Omar, "I think I'll just get really drunk." And Omar Sharif said, "Oh, I'm gonna do that too!"

So, the two of them got drunk and then had themselves adhered to the camels, then filmed the camels charging into battle. O'Toole admitted that he was so drunk he had no idea where he was or what he was doing for the entire scene

Here's Peter again, with a decidedly amusing expression on his face while poking his camel with a camel-poking stick.
In June 2008, Lawrence of Arabia was ranked #1 on the American Film Institute's list of the ten greatest films in the "epic" genre, and Peter O'Toole's performance as T.E. Lawrence is the #1 ranked performance of all time in Premiere Magazine's 100 Greatest Performances of All Time.
Want to know more about How to Regain Control of a Spooked Camel? Here's the web address.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

I Think, Therefore I'm Beat!


is divine
is hot and dark
and if i leave my coffee cup
too long on the window sill
fungus grows
who told fungus
to grow there, man
who's in charge, man

it's a long note to blow

What is that clicking sound? It's the sound of snapping fingers, the appropriate response to a well received Beatnik poem! Yesterday, April 22nd, was the last in our series of National Poetry Month celebrations at the library, and we celebrated BEATNIK POETRY.


can't see my hand
in front of my face
can't see your hand
in front of your face
can't see the rat
lurking in the corner
ah, edison
make the scene

Who is this guy?

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

What Do Poetry, Coffee, and Dan Fogelberg Have In Common?

"There's a heaven on earth that so few ever find.
But the map's in your soul and the road's in your mind."
Dan Fogelberg

Today we continued to celebrate poetry at our public library. I read selections from my poetry chapbook, TOKENS, with a few extras thrown in, to a packed house! The house was packed with Ms. Boone's senior English class, and a few adult poetry enthusiasts. The poem that seemed to be the hit of the day was my Love, Alabama Style, a rather lengthy poem about an ill-tempered, jealous cat.

While the teen audience, as well as the adults, were attentive and adroit during the reading, an abundance of coffee was consumed after the program, and a festive rip ensued. Robert Frost would have been proud of us!

The teens returned again and again, until the coffee pot was empty, asking pertinent questions about poetry writing, and expressing their own individual creativity in exuberant fashion.
After the students left the building and relative calm descended, I listened to a few Dan Fogelberg songs, and remembered what a great song writer he was. Many of his songs dealt with his hopes that we would all find a way to rescue and preserve the beauty of our environment. He sang about the beauty and magic in natural surroundings and what we all have at our fingertips, and could easily lose if we aren't attentive.

And here's Dan, drinking coffee, and getting kissed by a black kitty. Or, is the cat trying to get the coffee?
Cats, coffee, poetry and beautiful music ... these are a few of my favorite things.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Poetic Pleasures and Horses, Horses, Horses

Continuing our National Poetry Month celebrations, another accomplished Alabama poet gave a delightful reading at the library today. Kathleen Thompson, native of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, read from her published works and talked about her experiences as writer and poet. Kathleen's poems, essays and short stories have been widely published in literary magazines, most recently in Sou'wester and Amaryllis.

Kathleen's published books include Searching for Ambergris, The Shortest Distance, and The Nights and the Days. She's a wonderfully talented Alabamian, and her presentation was a treat.

Kathleen received her MFA in Writing from Spalding University in Louisville, Kentucky where I attended Bellarmine College, though I don't think those two events were concurrent. It has been quite a few years since my last excursion to Kentucky, and how I wish I could drop everything and zip up there for a visit.

The Kentucky Derby is just about a month away, and the book I'm currently reading, Seabiscuit by Laura Hillenbrand, has sparked my interest in the odd horse.

The oddest horse I ever was acquainted with, was a little stinker who loved to catapult me through the air and into the thicket, briar patch, or any other available shrubbery. His temperament was sullen at worst, facetious at best. I can't remember the little bugger's name for sure ... but I think it was Pepper. My brother-in-law bought him from Blair Farms and left him at our house in the woods, and I think I'm the only living soul who ever tried to ride him. And feeding him was almost as dangerous as riding him. He loved to bite! Seabiscuit would never do that!

Pepper ended up back at the Blair Farms from whence he came, and even though he was an exasperating fellow, I missed him when he was gone. I don't think he missed me.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Fools & Poets

April Fools Day was a delight! It's good to have a day when one can drop all pretenses and just be what you are! Because April is National Poetry Month , it was a chance to celebrate FOOLS & POETS all at the same time! Are those two words synonymous? Because I fit into both categories, I'll refrain from commenting.

My sister, Joanne Cage, an Alabama poet of some renown, read her poems at our local library today to kick off our month long National Poetry Month festivities.

Here's Joanne, looking quite adventurous and stunningly beautiful as a cowboy. Her creative inclinations kicked in at an early age, and she's been creative and witty ever since.

Here's another of my favorite poets, Robert Frost. Mr. Frost and Joanne share some similarities in writing style and subject matter, both writing about passions of the heart. To a large extent, those passions have to do with trees, leaves, home and seasons, and fragile melancholy memories.

I believe Robert F. was a bit more irascible than Joanne. One of the funniest stories I ever heard was in a biography of Robert Frost, concerning his misbehaviour on two separate occasions while fellow poet, Carl Sandberg, was attempting to read his poetry to an audience. In the first incident, Robert Frost seized a huge broom and chased a wayward bird around the auditorium, diverting all attention away from Sandberg. In the second incident, funniest of all and hardest to explain, while sitting in the audience during a Sandberg reading, Frost set a bunch of papers on fire, which subsequently ignited an empty chair, whilst Carl S. diligently attempted to press on with his reading. Robert, what were you thinking?

Other great poets worth checking out are Edwin Arlington Robinson, Ambrose Bierce, William Butler Yeats, Countee Cullen, James A. Emanuel, and Rupert Brooke.

Rupert's one of my favorites.

And then there's always Dobby Mauby. Samuel Dobbs Mauby ... he's a nut.