Five Seasons Drop/Single Birth Date

(find or search nowhere else
but weigh to sing
in burdens' measured load of loss)

in desire fulfill
in reversal shared to feed
in harm, & swell the hidden wound
from earliest youth
through failed manhood comforts
pared down to solitude's bare unease
in time's fated settling

(here is each & every thing's mystery
since nothing's there, but gone)

Thresholds 2

while soiled linen soaks
in a pool of spreading sunlight
a blank itch burrows damp
nesting home under my skin

--now why would high-voltage hum
grow louder in the old house's shade?
why would it make me thirsty?

loose clouds roll back in
as a sharp colic cramps my bowels

one storm unspools north
while another winds tight south

my island is the recurrent trough
(--the unframed threshold...?)
where continental systems
collapse in sinking ocean fronts

(Ocean Again)

at the rivermouth's broad
widening flow
the current
brings us to our feet

life's horizon recedes
before each step
in a flooding tide of tears
while we learn
to walk on water

the earth is flat
to each & every nearsighted self
& the far shore
is a cradling cloud
of mirror mist
as we tumble over the edge
in endless, sourcing fall

Extended Swelter Delays

on rough plains of compound interest
our view builds out reasonous error
into nation-forts as far as no event horizon

classical perspective how cultured?

from a distance, the ruling strait-jacket
keeps a world standing at any cost
--the price of narrow life-channels drained

a table in the sun, a desk in the shade
rendering split judgements on casual opinion


Th airier deepening of aimless want
makes you more alien, more
of an object

The deeper wanting of airless aim
pushes you just beyond
grasping reach

Who are you?


Further notes on that Carmenère...

(Day 1: Winter Solstice, December 21st)
Weird scenes inside the gold mine: I get back from dinner at NoPa & the TV is on, the window wide open in my room at the Metro Hotel. WTF? I don't remember leaving everything like this. When I boot up, Firefox is primed to install an upgrade & I miss the opportunity to search around for traces of unauthorised use or tampering with my laptop. Am I getting paranoid? Maybe it's the after dinner absinthe effect.

When I check email, I find a heartfelt note from meine neffe, Jens-Holger David, so at nine this drizzly evening in San Francisco, I'm his wake-up call in Wolfenbuettel (birthplace of Jaegermeister!), 0600 Central Europe Time in Niedersachsen-- that's Lower Saxony for the sprache-impaired.
He's supposed to be the bad guy in his marriage's breakup, & of course he's too sleepy to give me his side of the story under the circumstances. We're both sorry I wasn't in Puerto Rico last month when he visited.

(Day 2...)
Restlessly reclusive in my city hotel room-- why can't I get into my rental & drive off? Tired. I guess.

Day 3: I blew it. City Rent-a-Car has their whole fleet booked over Christmas & I couldn't extend my current rental beyond tomorrow. Booked for Friday. Forget Big Sur, or San Juan Bautista: I'll be spending Christmas in my Metro hotel room, for better or worse.

In spite of everything going on these days that leads me to question the ultimate relevance of personal wine evaluations except as mercenary marketing tool, I feel compelled to add some further notes to my dismissively skimpy write-up on the Ventura Carmenère for Wine Blogging Wednesday #52:
'...deep ruby (-- is that 'garnet', though?) color with violet rim, fairly simple but pleasant cherry-cassis in nose & palate...'

First of all, I opened the bottle with dinner at the Metro Kathmandu, where the Indian-Nepalese food was a difficult pairing task...I will have to rummage about to figure what I actually ate that evening. In any case, there seemed to be a fleeting bittersweet, tannic edge developing in the aftertaste just before the wine seemed to 'flatten' about two hours after opening. After recent & varied experiences of 'rebound' in the sensorium of organic wines, however, I figured it might be worth saving the remaining half-bottle.

Sure enough, two days later, Kathmandu manager Roshan agreed with me the wine was surprisingly improved: the body was still medium-light at best, washing a little thinly in the midpalate & coming up short in aftertaste. But there was now soft, well-integrated spice in the nose, with some follow through on the tongue. A dusting of nutmeg on the cherries & blackcurrants, as it were, adding subtle complexity & charm to what had at first seemed a gratingly simple, workmanlike quaffer.

It's Christmas Eve. I don't know where I'm eating or what I'm drinking tonight, but at least I have a warm & cozy manger & some silver in my pocket to afford me alternatives. In this Holiday time, please remember those less fortunate, those who cannot, for whichever reason, participate in or exercise the gift, the awareness & freedom of choice. However possible, share your abundance.
Cheers, Peace, & to all a good night!


Rolling North again...to drink Tinto Chileno for Wine Blogging Wednesday #52

Late again-- as is my stubbornly vicious wont-- for Wine Blogging Wednesday #52, as the number of installments in the wine blogosphere's Premier Online Tasting Event approaches my chronological age...

I was hoping to round up my buddies Adriano & Mark in Los Angeles-- the San Fernando Valley, to be precise-- along with Art & Wine Predator G. Alley for a group tasting of value reds from Chile, but...people have prior obligations, priorities, schedules & agendas, & I could not clearly propose an amenable date for the gathering.
On top of that, I was shocked, shocked to find that there are more Chileno wine choices-- a couple of them made from organic grapes-- in the Health Haven food store on Divisadero street, in the Western Addition district (-- upscale, gentrified denomination 'NoPa') in San Francisco than there were in Whole Foods' Sherman Oaks store in the San Fernando Valley.

I passed up on a $14 'Nuevo Mundo' Cabernet-Merlot organic Meritage for a chance at a $9.99 value: a 2006 Ventura Carmenère, also from organic grapes. Carmenère has had quite the myesterious odyssey-- I'll let the Wiki entry do the honors & proceed to some quick tasting notes: deep ruby (-- is that 'garnet', though?) color with violet rim, fairly simple but pleasant cherry-cassis in nose & palate. The Valley of Lontué, within the Curicó 'appellation', may not be the best terroir for a natural expression of the grape with some depth. Then again, the variety itself may work best in blends, as is the common wisdom.

December 10th is also the anniversary of Alfred Nobel's death, & the date for the annual ceremony honoring the year's winners of the prize that bears his name.
Pablo Neruda won the prize for literature in 1971, the second Chilean writer to earn the award, after Gabriela Mistral, who was honored in 1945. Two poets in a land that has given so many more to the world: Vicente Huidobro, Nicanor Parra, Enrique Lihn, Humberto Díaz Casanueva, Roberto Bolaño...

Here is my own idiosyncratic translation of Neruda's Ode to Wine:

Wine color of day
Wine color of night
Wine with feet of purple
or topaz blood
starful-struck child
of earth
Wine, smooth
as a sword of gold
as disorderly velvet
snail-curled wine
never could fit in one glass
in one song, in one man
choral, gregarious, you are
at the very least mutual.
you feed on mortal memories
on your wave
we ride from grave to grave
quarryman of a frozen sepulchre
we cry
fleeting tears
your gorgeous
suit of spring
is different
the heart climbs the branches
the wind moves the day
nothing is left
inside your motionless soul
moves spring
like a plant, joy grows
walls crumble
& boulders, too--
ravines close up
& the song is born.
Thou jug of wine in the desert
by the scrumptious one I love,
said the old poet
may the claypot of wine
to love's kiss add its own kiss.

My love, suddenly
your hips
are the brimful curve
of the goblet
your breast is the bunch
glint of alcohol your mane
grapes your nipples
pure seal your navel
etched on the vessel of your womb
& your love the cascade
of unquenchable wine
the gleam that falls on my senses
the earthy splendor of life.

Yet not only love
burning kiss
or charred heart
are you, wine of life
friendship of all beings, trasparency
choir of discipline
surfeit of flowers.
I love on a table,
in the middle of speech,
the light of a bottle
of intelligent wine.
Let them drink
let them remember in each
drop of gold
or topaz glass
or spoon of purple
how Autumn labored
until wine filled the barrels
& may the dark man learn
in the ritual of his business
to remember the earth & its tasks
to spread the plainsong in fruit.

Here is the original in Spanish, in print & as read by Marcella Leoneli.



Snapshots of the Fall

My Buddy Sam cradles a River...

Negrita, my late brother Alberto's stressed-out pussycat.

The Metro, home away from home in San Francisco.

Lenn Thompson of Long Island, 'El Jefe' Stai, of Twisted Oak.

The Twisted Oak, sentinel over the looting pirates' tunnel cave.

Hang in there, primo Sam!

Selfless Portrait


--call me detour mashup ronin
spiritual collage anarchist
demolition renewal dialectician

with no refuge, no road, no temple
where was I?
any way, any shore-- near or far--

active passivist bookworming
through labels & roles
in thoughtless scholarship

compression alienist
foreign homebody casualty
blinking social decomposition down

(to be continued...)