Listen while I play my green tambourine

So intriguing, the insatiable desire of some people to be on TV! Yet another thing I don’t understand. I suppose it’s an economic need at first and then, once that need is met, transitions into something else...

I kind of wish I knew what drives people— children, men and women—to want to be on TV. TV’s the very last place I’d want to be. I’d rather be dead, or playing basketball in the 6ft and under league in a high school gym with no one watching.

Listen while I play my green tambourine...

 David Letterman, tv personality, retired to grow a beard and return as a tv personality with a beard, from a full pg. ad in The New York Times promoting a new David Letterman television show, August 8, 2018. 

David Letterman, tv personality, retired to grow a beard and return as a tv personality with a beard, from a full pg. ad in The New York Times promoting a new David Letterman television show, August 8, 2018. 

Politics Wyoming

Two campaign slogans for candidates running for public office, as seen in Park County—

1) Vote for Our Daddy

2) Fresh thinking, traditional values 

As to No.1: yes, of course, absolutely, why hadn’t anyone thought of that before, brilliant messaging, strategically savvy, broad demographic appeal...

As to No.2: no, I don’t think so, the impossibility of mixed metaphor, overpromising and no doubt underdelivering, fresh and traditional or traditionally fresh or freshly traditional...?

 

 ‘Salt’, poem from forthcoming book, “In Order to Hear a Bare Sound”, manuscript, author’s personal collection, August 6, 2018. 

‘Salt’, poem from forthcoming book, “In Order to Hear a Bare Sound”, manuscript, author’s personal collection, August 6, 2018. 

Two paintings, zero writing

There’s something about painting I just can’t wait to get to, and something about writing I just can’t wait to get away from.

Painting, I don’t know what I’m doing, I have no master and so I’m no slave. Writing is a different story.

Finishing up two paintings today, free handing them both, not worrying whether or not I was staying between the lines, as there were no lines, I could feel myself lifting up out of myself and into the realm of a creative act. 

Toward the end of the making of each painting I started talking to myself, liking what I was hearing enough to begin to write it down, crawling back to the writing table in service to words.

 Two paintings, ‘Rattlesnake’ (standing) and ‘Ant Hill‘ (laying flat) drying in the writer’s studio, Wyoming, August 4, 2028

Two paintings, ‘Rattlesnake’ (standing) and ‘Ant Hill‘ (laying flat) drying in the writer’s studio, Wyoming, August 4, 2028

Big Mountain, Bigger Fool

I guess I made a mistake climbing Heart Mountain yesterday. 

I hadn’t given any real thought to where a real mountain begins and ends. 

I began the climb too late and completed it much later than I thought I would at the beginning.

After achieving the summit I signed the log, sat on a rock for 12 minutes, drank water, and marveled at the views—the entire Big Horn Basin, including three other mountain ranges, and the parking lot of Walmart, 12 miles away in the town of Cody. 

 Heart Mountain, Cody, Wyoming, elevation 8,123 ft. after the 2 1/2 hour descent. The descent was much more grueling than the ascent, a fact that will never be forgotten by this descender.

Heart Mountain, Cody, Wyoming, elevation 8,123 ft. after the 2 1/2 hour descent. The descent was much more grueling than the ascent, a fact that will never be forgotten by this descender.

Near the end of Wood River Road

Meeteetse, Wy—surely one of the most beautiful roads in the world, beginning on ranchland and farmland, paved for the first five miles or so then unpaved, progressively so as it climbs up the mountain more or less following the river which is progressively down below, steeply so, as in the word ‘gorge’, the road now rutted and finitely narrow until it becomes the mother of all impasse, available only to packhorses and ATV’s, the ghost town of Kirwin, elevation 11,000 ft. still 7 miles away...

...it’s here we stop and take pictures, she of the top of a specific mountain worn away by ancient glacial movement, me of the many mountains in the far distance.

 View near the end of Wood River Road, the ghost town of Kirwin still 7 miles away, July 28, 2018. 

View near the end of Wood River Road, the ghost town of Kirwin still 7 miles away, July 28, 2018. 

Silicon Valley, Wyoming

I just had an idea, sitting in the studio this evening, that I’m calling The Big Idea:

To call upon Silicon Valley, California to create a system able to determine the truth or falsehood of any communication transmitted by social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc.) as well as any communication transmitted by the print and broadcast media (CNN and FOX News, The New York Times and so forth) that would determine the truth or the falsity of the communication transmitted. 

Surely some impartial, scrupulous, righteous, quietly efficient algorithm could be developed to identify falsehoods, show how the falsehoods differentiate from the truth—the facts—identify within the communication when and where context plays a part, provide examples, and/or: issue a statement of correction or give a clean bill of health to the communication as is.

There’s big money in this idea, and I’d like at least half of it.

 Author’s residence in Wyoming, view of the main cabin to which he ran uphill from his studio screaming Eureka, to record the Big Idea, 9 p.m. July 26, 2018. All Rights Reserved, Brooks Roddan, 2018.   

Author’s residence in Wyoming, view of the main cabin to which he ran uphill from his studio screaming Eureka, to record the Big Idea, 9 p.m. July 26, 2018. All Rights Reserved, Brooks Roddan, 2018.

 

Self defense without a firearm

Technology is smarter than most people, including yours truly, but technology can’t outsmart Nature or man’s natural voice, Poetry.

In Wyoming, I’m able to build natural little dams around my consciousness to protect myself against the seemingly unending flood of consciously unconscious mischief and malfeasance emanating from the nations’ Capitol. 

In the morning I walk down to the creek below the studio and wash my ears in the clear water there, leaving my iPhone up in the cabin so I won’t be distracted by man-made current events. Then I enter the studio to write, my writing consisting these days wading through writing I want to get rid of.

For hours upon hours I take dead aim at all the bad writing I’ve written, mostly poems,  with a pen and not a gun. Then I pick up the novel I’ve started and stopped writing and started again for the last two years, picking through the wreckage in the quiet morning, knowing it’s not as bad as it looks, that it’s worse than that,

Finally it’s late evening, time to go fishing, fishing being a contemplative sport, the fish themselves being natural non-aggressive sorts, smart enough to hide themselves in the waters of Wyoming.

 Spencer and his son Trayvion fishing, north fork of the Shoshone River, Wapiti, Wyoming, 7:30 p.m., Tuesday, July 17, 2018.

Spencer and his son Trayvion fishing, north fork of the Shoshone River, Wapiti, Wyoming, 7:30 p.m., Tuesday, July 17, 2018.

Rereading an old notebook

It once was 2008. 

I was traveling in Turkey, from Istanbul to Izmir by train. 

The train stopped in a small town. I don’t know why it stopped but it stopped and I had the sense that it would be stopped there for awhile. 

The conductor said it was ok to get off the train and walk around the town for awhile, so I did.

It was a small town. I walked down the main street and kept walking, making a right and then a left, keeping the train station in mind. 

I’ve never felt so out of place, so foreign in my life. The muezzin sounded and everything stopped. I can still hear the sound of it. 

Today at the cabin in Wyoming I found a notebook I’d kept of my travels that year.

It was 2008. I’d packed light, allowing myself only one book and two changes of clothes. It turned out to be the trip in which I started to write my first novel.

 From the found notebook of Thomas Fuller, author of “Monsieur Ambivalence”, traveling at the time under the passport , ‘Brooks Roddan’.

From the found notebook of Thomas Fuller, author of “Monsieur Ambivalence”, traveling at the time under the passport , ‘Brooks Roddan’.

Careers in Advertising

The first sip of Perrier sounds like a Porsche pulling up in front of your house. You let it idle there for a few moments before your houseboy opens the front door for you and hands you the keys... 

...no, that’s a touch too elitist I’m afraid, The Creative Director says. I’m looking for a slightly less moneyed demographic, equally discerning of course, predominantly urban, a single man or woman who’ve chosen to live without an automobile and who use Uber or Lyft...

...I see, The Copywriter says, dejected, having followed The Marketing Position to a fault, knowing now he’ll have to burn the midnight oil before he’s allowed to go home to a disappointed wife and two small children who haven’t seen him in days. 

 Perrier, now available in convenient 10 oz. cans, poses atop a stone on the Wyoming property of a former copywriter and creative director, Wapiti, Wyoming, 8:50 pm, July 19, 2018. 

Perrier, now available in convenient 10 oz. cans, poses atop a stone on the Wyoming property of a former copywriter and creative director, Wapiti, Wyoming, 8:50 pm, July 19, 2018. 

Breathing in air, breathing in water

What I admire about birds is that I can’t be sure of what they’re saying, though I know it’s some sort of truth. Fish on the other hand belong to the community of silence, the complete opposite of birds; fish know when to keep their mouths shut.

As well as being a person a poet is half bird and half fish. Which half is which, which half predominates, for one half will always win against the other, can be heard in the poets’ song and seen in the poets’ silence. The poet who endeavors to write the smallest poem possible and the poet who endeavors to write an epic have ambitions that are commensurately large and small: neither ambition is greater or lesser than the other, though each is ambitious.

Both bird and fish, the real poet, were he or she a poet, takes the time necessary not to write, and instead sits completely still looking up at the sky and down through the water.

 North fork, Shoshone River, Wyoming, Tuesday evening, July 17, 2018. 

North fork, Shoshone River, Wyoming, Tuesday evening, July 17, 2018. 

Ezra Pound of Hailey, Idaho

Pound drove west to east, from San Francisco to Elko, Nevada.  

He stopped for a burrito in Fernley, astonished by the number of cars lined up at the drive-thru lanes at McDonalds, Jack-in-the-Box, and Taco Bell. Seeing the long lines of cars waiting for their infrared hamburgers and chimichangas, Pound, a nascent environmentalist, thought “now there is a symbol with a capital S.”

Driving east, Pound took a bathroom break in Winnemucca. Making water in the latrine of a Chevron station there, Pound snapped the photo below. 

Driving on toward Elko, famous dictum that was to become so famous—the natural object is always the adequate symbol”—came upon him.  It was at that moment that Pound decided to drive on to Hailey, Idaho so that he could be born all over again.

 Sign above latrine, Chevron service station, Winnemucca, NV, said to have inspired the poet Pound, leading him to formulate his famous dictum about object and symbol. July 13, 2018. 

Sign above latrine, Chevron service station, Winnemucca, NV, said to have inspired the poet Pound, leading him to formulate his famous dictum about object and symbol. July 13, 2018. 

Attention deficit

I apply to The University of Rabelais and am admitted. 

First assignment: write a novel with a poet as the protagonist.

I sit at my desk with pad and paper and ballpoint pen, an manual Olympia typewriter with a red ribbon, an IBM Selectric, a MacBook Pro with Microsoft Word, and my IPhone. 

Nothing much happens: I can’t get past the title: “Autobiography of Poetry: the Attention Deficit Edition.” 

 Four cookies, St. Honore Boulangerie, Lake Oswego, OR. June 22, 2018. 

Four cookies, St. Honore Boulangerie, Lake Oswego, OR. June 22, 2018. 

The animal kingdom

I’d rather a baboon be my President, and a Pacific Walrus that hasn’t gone on the Atkins Diet to be my National Security Advisor. I hold The Supreme Court in contempt of the law—if the robes aren’t enough to disgust one, then reading the ‘record’ of The Chief Justice ought to be: Roberts began his political career serving the ends and means of the Reagan bunch and worked up from there. Conservative Baboons are taking over the animal kingdom! Humanitarian baboons must resist! 

 Photo courtesy The New York Times, June 22, 2018. 

Photo courtesy The New York Times, June 22, 2018. 

Statue of Unliberty

Writing this on Sunday morning from mother ship Starbucks, international beacon of morning light and coffee... 

...a headline in The New York Times reads, “Border Policy Had Been Seen As Inhumane”.

Scroll through old notes on iPhone: from the August 22 edition of The NYT about a July 24th meeting Attorney General Jeff Sessions had with his boss Donald Trump about ‘criminals’ coming into the USA from El Salvador: “we have a harmony of values and beliefs” said Sessions after the meeting.

At Starbucks, people drink their coffee, their fingers purring into their laptops and iPhones, reading the news that way, or writing greetings to loved ones on this Sunday morning in June, Fathers Day.

Elsewhere, in the wealthiest nation in the history of the world, immigrants are being demonized and children taken from their mothers.

 Starbucks, Lake Oswego, OR, 7 a.m., June 17, 2018. 

Starbucks, Lake Oswego, OR, 7 a.m., June 17, 2018. 

Celebrity Dictators

(Soundtrack) A Groovy Kind of Love. 

Enter the hosts: President of The USA, Donald J. Trump and Kim Jong Un, Supreme Commander of The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

(Canned applause from an international group of print and broadcast journalists). 

Announcer: Ladies and Gentlemen! Welcome to the premier of ‘Celebrity Dictators’!!!

(More canned applause, but louder). 

Announcer: Tonight our two great Dictators will interview apprentice dictatorial candidates representing each continent on the globe. Please welcome from Europe...

 ‘Celebrity Dictator’ hosts walking toward the set of the new NBC hit show.

‘Celebrity Dictator’ hosts walking toward the set of the new NBC hit show.

Deep state

The state that operates in the name of the people is neither deep or necessarily nefarious: it is the same state that brought us Donald Trump, whose conjuring of the ‘deep state’ and whose protestation against it is a kind of confirmation that it doesn’t exist, for if it did Donald Trump would not be President.

 Donald Trump as seen on C-Span, June, 2018.

Donald Trump as seen on C-Span, June, 2018.

Hypothetical tweet

The Chinese have stolen our literature. The Russians have hacked our painters, sculptors and conceptual artists. Mexican and El Savadorean gang members are crossing our borders Illegally to rape and murder our best musicians. This must stop! Now!

 Illegal tomatoes detained at the border between Juarez and El Paso. 

Illegal tomatoes detained at the border between Juarez and El Paso. 

Crop of gargoyles

As seen on C-SPAN, the Senate hearings of data mining of American voters undertaken by Cambridge Analytica, including the probing questions asked by Senator John Cornyn, Majority Whip, prepared by his young assistant T.S. Eliot III, seated behind his boss. If there is a creepier, more disingenuous bunch of human beings than the leadership of The Republican Party, it has yet to be seen.

 T.S. Eliot III, descendent of the great poet, sitting in his own private wasteland behind his boss, a US Senator from Texas. They are the hollow men, they are the stuffed men.

T.S. Eliot III, descendent of the great poet, sitting in his own private wasteland behind his boss, a US Senator from Texas. They are the hollow men, they are the stuffed men.

Waking from insomnia

Why can’t we perfect ourselves, to make ourselves as perfect as possible? Who says we can’t, or that we shouldn’t try? Why this rejection of the spiritual, or the acceptance of the spiritual only in its conventional, predetermined religious forms? 

 The Salesforce Tower, downtown San Francisco, November 3, 2017. 

The Salesforce Tower, downtown San Francisco, November 3, 2017.