This is just poetry. It won't save you, but it may locate you so that a rescue party can be sent out. — Dean Blehert

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

A Class Act

How do you follow
an act like Hello.

Note: I suppose that's why we linger over goodbyes, trying to wring a few last drops of drama out of them. A live, real hello holds such promise that, having failed, in our 2nd and 3rd acts (conversation, dinner, movies, love-making, etc.) to live up to that promise, we must hope for a tragic farewell. No wonder we get so many of them.

The proper act to follow hello is hello, and again hello. Even goodbye should be a form of hello.

NOW she's naked

Just when we thought the stripper
had taken everything off, she shed
a tear.

Do It To Me, Poet!

All my women agree
that I'm very good
in print.

Before Television

When I was little I'd sit on the rug
before our huge wooden-framed radio
with glowing orange dial (as if
at the feet of a master). I'd peer
into the dial, trying to penetrate
its translucence so I'd be able to SEE
The Lone Ranger, Sergeant Preston, etc.
It's like that when, trying to see you,
I look into your eyes.

Note: I became a radio addict around age 5 (1947), at which point I'd never heard of TV, nor did we own one until 1952 (one with a tiny black & white screen). The floor-model radios were huge -- 3 or 4 feet tall. The wooden console of this one had trim that was fluted. It was originally dark, but for some reason my Dad had painted it a light yellow-beige color. I remember pealing bits of loose paint off the edges (hope it wasn't lead based).

What else do I remember? Going to the cookie jar and stuffing my hands AND my pockets with cookies (especially if they were chocolate chip or peanut butter -- oatmeal raison were just tolerable), pulling threads out of the huge pink easy chair in the corner of the living room by the radio and getting cookie crumbs in all its cracks (beneath the cushion), while listening to "all the good shows" I hated to miss.

About two feet off the floor at the center of the radio was the dial, behind which glowed with a soft orange light. I thought if I looked into it carefully, I might be able to see the people I was listening to. When our first TV made vision possible, the result was at once thrilling (wow! So THAT'S what the Lone Ranger looks like) and, of course, disappointing.

Looking into "your" eyes is more thrilling, less disappointing (at least with the main YOU's of my life), probably because you look back. The radio didn't, though it let me imagine a great deal. I also thought there must be images in the radio vacuum tubes I saw on occasion, with their delicate filaments and plays of reflected light.

The TV not only didn't look back, but pretended to and kept mistaking me for some idiot. (Hey, Kids, What time is it? It's Howdy Doody time!" C'mon, you smiling condescending vacuity in buckskin, I'm ten years old and have spent years listening to Gangbusters, Suspense, Tarzan, Life of Riley, Our Miss Brooks, Tales of the Texas Rangers, even Gunsmoke and Dragnet (monotonous, so "adult"), so don't talk to ME as if I were a little kid! (Poor Buffalo Bob, I was way too hard on him, right, Boys and Girls?)

The Witch Which Was

When I was a kid, we called
the miserable old lady on the corner
a witch because she'd shoo us off her
lawn and call the cops about our "gang"
for running across the yard she bent
double over every day battling weeds.
Now I am 50 years old and a poet,
shabby, but gentle. What would you do
if you looked out your kitchen window
and saw me playing in your backyard?

Note: This is an old one. When I originally wrote it, line 7 had a different age -- 35, I think. When I printed it in Deanotations, I updated it to 50 (that must have been in 1952). This time I'll let it be. (I'm 65.) After all, bodies age, but one hopes one's poems do not. (But they do; may they age well.)

Friday, July 13, 2007


The leaves of a whole treetop
lift off--

Thursday, July 12, 2007

No Joke

Wake my life...

Note: A variation on Henny Youngman's joke: "Take my wife...please!"


Look, I'm telling you everything I know.
Why don't you understand it
so that I can know something new?

Note: Ever go on talking at great length to someone because you feel that person isn't getting it? Perhaps because he nods and says "uhuh" at all the wrong places -- before you've finished your sentences? Perhaps because he glazes over or says something non-sequitur?

One way to look at this situation is to see the other person's failure to understand or failure to indicate understanding as a trap, holding you stuck in what you are trying to communicate. Truths, as we articulate them, are moving targets: they can go rotten on us if we hold them too long and too tight.

When we go on too long, we are begging our listeners to understand us so that we can be free of what we are trying to say and get on to new thoughts. When we've gone on long enough, we give up and put our attempted communications on permanent automatic, continuing them when we are alone, this endless mumbling to ourselves.

This suggests, when we are bored listeners, that we need to indicate more clearly that we GOT IT! Thus the world "closure". Closure is how I closure (close your) yap!

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Hazy Purplish Tinge -- May I Have Your Autograph?

On the horizon bare trees
make distance

Note: This one's a bit obscure -- not really intended to have a title, but I felt like being explanatory. May as well say more: Sometimes a view makes distance real, like the opening up of dimensionality if one has been viewing with one eye for a long time, then opens the other as well. Also sometimes beauty strikes one unexpectedly, or strikes me that way (I get tired of "one" -- why not two or ten or a thousand? -- sometimes beauty strikes a thousand unexpectedly), and it's like meeting a celebrity in the street in one's (or one thousands' ) home town. I'm looking at the familiar -- trees across the Mississippi, an early winter day, cold enough to sting the nose with each breath, but no snow, little ice, the sky that thin blue with a few long, stretched-out clouds along the horizon, the branches of leafless trees blending in the distance to a rich brownish purple (what the alchemy of distance and air do to rumpled gray), and I can't look enough, feel I'm seeing something I've seen before, but not noticed. It's a "scene", something from a glossy magazine cover, but I'm not at Grand Canyon, just out for a walk in St. Paul, not a very big or picturesque city, hardly a hang-out for the jet set or for major stars like distance.

I've felt this way often. The first time (in this lifetime -- not counting when I was a baby) that I got to stroke a woman's breast -- Oh, yes, I wanted that autograph. So you're that famous boob I've been hearing so much about, looking at pictures of you on the sly, and here you are! And soon after, I met other famous body parts and felt I REALLY had something to write home about, except home (for the first time in a long time) felt like right here where I was.

We tell ourselves so many stories about ourselves that it's always a relief to realize, from time to time, that we are really here, and something is really happening. Wow! So this is what it's all about, all that stuff about being "in love" -- yeah, this is it! It really IS being in love. (Remember that one?)

A Deeper Silence

We drive 200 miles to a national park,
to a motel room with carpets and lamps
where we argue some more the same old

(But when we stop fighting,
we are in a redwood forest.)

Where's My Medal?

I drive through the city,
narrowly missing hundreds of moving cars,
signs, pedestrians, parked cars, hydrants,
trees, buildings, statues--I do this
every day, never hitting a thing.
God! I'm good!