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

Friday, June 26, 2009


Dear readers,

Something has come up: I'm going to be out of town AND off email (and the Internet) for the next few months (probably no more than 3 months). When I return, I'll probably shift to sending out WEEKLY, instead of daily mailings. I leave tomorrow, will not have time to answer responses to these poems for a few months! Note: This hiatus is GOOD news for me, not trouble, just tricky because it came up suddenly. I'm not going to jail or to a hospital. I'm going to be taking some courses, rather intensively. As the terminator says, I'll be back.

If, during that time, you change e-mail addresses, please send the changes to my usual email,

Here are a few bon voyage poems:

The dog crosses the road.
I say "Come back here!"
The dog doesn't seem to hear.
A car comes. NOW the dog
starts to cross back to me.
I yell, STAY!
The dog doesn't seem to hear.

The car halts for the dog,
who, eventually, toddles toward me,
then, sensing something is wrong,
stops just beyond my reach, head down,
eyes peering up at mine, then away,
beneath brows (tan against his black)
writhing with worry.

COME HERE! I say. The dog
doesn't seem to hear.
The dog moves a squeamish step forward.
I lunge, catch his bright red collar and
(for his own good) swat his shoulder
hard...and again....

He ducks, cringes, looks up at me,
blinking, looks away. I feel bad.
I wonder if I should never have children.
Where did I go wrong?

[Note: Dogs are NOT defenseless against our onslaughts!]


If I hit the dog in anger,
he cringes, striken, as if by plague
or poison. When forgiven,
he's my friend for life,
everything wagging at once...
but not more obedient.

I don't know what happens
when I hit the cat in anger:
She avoids me, gradually returns --
is that a resentful expression,
or has she always had that expression?
She gets even by not letting on,
and she snubs forgiveness,
turning away to lick herself.


Relious beliefs solve a lack
of religious feelings, perceptions, certainties
and actions.

[Note: I suppose this poem is unfair, "belief" being so many things, but certainly one of the roles of "belief" is to provide a way to consider oneself religious in the absense of the other items.]


A big mound of earth pops up before me
an arm's length from my face.
As I reach to touch it,
a tiny man on a tiny horse appears
between me and my mound,
and I discover I can reach for miles.


Time to make our New Year's


Happiness is waking up
beside a fascinating stranger
and it's my wife.


When I wake, the space beside me
is where you are or are not.
That's it,
in a nuptial.

[Note: The pun is on the phrase, "That's it in a nut shell"--from, of all places, Hamlet. A hamlet is a little ham, and there's a little ham in all of us--and way too much pork.]


Don't worry about death.
We can communicate without bodies,
without words,
as follows:

Dean Blehert
Blogs: (short poems) (essays and longer poems)
New book (Deanotations, Volume 1) available at

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


Communication as a solution to art
is watering a rose.

Art as a solution to communication
is dropping a cut rose
into a bucket of water.

[Note: Some will find this one difficult to understand. A simpler way to say it is that communication underlies art, not vice versa. Art does not resolve difficulties with communication. Communication resolves difficulties with art. For example, a writer with writer's block can unjam that block by improving his communication with himself and others and reviving his willingness to communicate. Trying to break through the block by forcing creativeness is far more complex and far less effective.

Writers, painters, dancers, actors -- all reach outwards, put something "out there" for others to receive and to which others can contribute. (Teaching an artist that he creates for him/herself alone is a great way to destroy an artist. But even someone who fancies he creates for himself is communicating, if only to himself, eager to see what he has to say to himself.) What, then, happens to the art of a person who is withholding himself from others? I imagine it becomes shallow or obscure or hideous: Shallow if he tries to say lovely things while holding back ugliness; obscure if he tries to hide from himself and others exactly what he is saying (art as encryption); hideous as an attempt to make his audience go away. Some of it may yet be striking, but he won't be able to continue it for long, because he feels he is doing something he shouldn't be doing.

It's true a man after an argument with his wife or lover, may get back in communication by sending her a poem, but only because it's a communication. Improving the art of the poem will not likely improve the outcome.

I'm sure you can think of many examples of both sides of this.

Over 40 years ago, I heard a talk where a speaker told an audience something about the importance of communication. This was on a college campus. A student in the audience stood up and started screaming at the top of his lungs, "You don't communicate with the motherfuckers!! You stand the motherfuckers up against the wall!!!" -- thrusting his arms out over his head as he yelled and jerking around as if he, himself, were being machine-gunned.

He had a vision. He was a campus hero who'd burned his draft card and was expecting to spend some time in jail. We seem to be living in his dark vision, since it is shared by those he would have stood against the wall and machine-gunned.

What lack of good communication can destroy, renewal of good communication can bring back to life.]

Dean Blehert
Blogs: (short poems) (essays and longer poems)
New book (Deanotations, Volume 1) available at

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


A poem is more vision than picture,
not a snapshot, but an eye to see through,
or the light by which seeing is possible,
a flashbulb that, when you look at the world,
flashes anew.

[I think I'll add another poem, since the one above seems a bit below par to me.]

A poem is a one-way valve:
you enter at the beginning.
In two more lines
you will leave. Already
you cannot go back.

Dean Blehert
Blogs: (short poems) (essays and longer poems)
New book (Deanotations, Volume 1) available at

Monday, June 22, 2009


Our poems are plucked from the sky
as, in flocks of thousands,
ideas pass overhead.

Sometimes we misfire
or shoot down only a few dead leaves,
often bring home a wooden sentiment,

having mistaken for the real thing
one of our own decoys.

[Note: "Decoy" implies that the "wooden sentiment" that alloys much art is something the artist himself puts out, hoping to fool some real feeling into coming within reach. I think we all do that, as the artists composing our own lives. For example, we may labor at being maudlin or ecstatic or angry in hopes of more passionate lives. Thus we may become infatuated with our own decoys. One reason the blaze of passion is sometimes considered brutal is that in its light, the dullness of our various pretensions to passion is exposed. Or the dullness of our poems.

When shooting at birds, a hunter may bring down a few leaves from the branches just above. Or dead leaves could be dead pages ("leaves" of books), dead poems. Seems appropriate that the hunters shoot from a "blind."]

Dean Blehert
Blogs: (short poems) (essays and longer poems)
New book (Deanotations, Volume 1) available at

Saturday, June 20, 2009


Breezes nudge me like wavelets.
The air has surfaces through which we pass.

July -- so humid the wind
makes whitecaps
in the air.

[And a poem--or really a very short essay--for tomorrow, when I probably won't have time for email:]

Spirits are not "spiritual."
You and I, for example, are spirits,
while beautiful bodies, sea gulls, mountains, trees,
Taos pueblos, Burmese temples, Jerusalem, Rome,
cathedrals, whales, crucifixes, oceans and flowers
are not spirits, though spirits,
being none of these things,
can be any of them,
unless they confuse themselves
with things: It is hard for a mountain
to be a dove.

Note: The idea here is not to put down anyone's favorite sacred spiritual objects, but to assert that an object or force (e.g., the wind) is an object or force. This is NOT a rejection of, for example, animism, since any object or force may be imbued with spirituality because spiritual beings inhabit it or grant life to it (as we do to our bodies, for example, and as children do to their dolls). Even a whale is only as spiritual as it is being operated by one or more spiritual beings. Ditto a forest. Why shouldn't someone run a forest or a nation, just as anyone reading this runs, to some extent, a human body?

On this planet at this time, we grant more life to some things than to others. For example, whales are IN, cockroaches are OUT--for most of us. Dogs and cats many of us see as beings, people. Many us are NOT inclined to see human foetuses as beings. We are more inclined to feel more "spiritual" on a windy mountain peak than while cleaning out a septic tank or driving past a line of strip malls. [The Zen masters might reply that there is nothing more sacred than cleaning a septic tank.]

Why not a sacred strip mall? The ancient Egyptians attributed sacredness to scarabs (e.g., the black dung beetle) -- not far from cockroaches.

Some scholars (for example, cultural anthropologists) use such changing fashions in spirituality to debunk religion. That makes no sense to me. The fact that we are able to imbue with spirituality any thing, from the ruby in an idol's forehead to a crack on a wall or a lumpy turnip that someone notices resembles a woman or a bearded man -- that simply shows what spiritual beings are able to create, and the fact that the auras of spirituality that surround such objects or fetishes are created, makes those auras no less real.

I have not included here the granting of life to a nothing, an entity who can't be perceived, because you and I fit into that category: I think we are perceived only by what we create or by the creations we choose to be. And we aren't granted life (though our bodies are). We ARE life.

In fact, I'm not here at all. I am not this sentence. I am letters on a page or screen, to which you, now, are granting a voice and aliveness. That's YOU speaking here. And I'm not even letters on a page or screen. I'm ink marks or pixel squiggles to which YOU are attributing meaning, saying this is a word -- the word "this" -- and is composed of letters that have sounds, etc. But somewhere is a body typing on a keyboard...or did that body die ten minutes or an hour or a year or a century before you are now reading these words?

And if I were in the room with you (in a way, I am), reading you these words, you'd have sounds -- I am not those sounds -- and significances -- we co-create those -- and a body -- is that me? If its legs were amputated, would I cease to be wholly me? Ah, but if the brain were removed? THAT is the question! Then the body would become dead meat. But would I? If you unplug the TV set, do all the people that had been moving on the screen cease to exist?

Of course, a body can say "I am this body." And a sentence on a computer screen can say, I am this sentence.

I'd say our "spiritual objects," whether palatial cathedrals, Rosary beads, idols or a stern white-bearded man in the sky or a leather bag full of "good medicine" or the embalmed finger of a great religious leader, are as useful to us as their presence evokes in us an awareness of who we are (perhaps reminding us of periods when we were more aware and more able and willing to create), and as worse-than-useless as we use them to confuse ourselves with symbols of what we are.

Being nothing at all, basically, means being able to be anything one chooses to be. The stripping away of material adhesions is often confused with aceticism (denying one's body many things, like food and clothing and shelter). We often find this a hard concept to grasp--hence the popularity of wind as a spiritual symbol, since we think of moving air as able to occupy anything. Ditto the sacredness (to some) of the jackyl or coyote, who can be everywhere, usually unseen.

Denial of the body may produce a sort of spiritual awareness: you can, for example, starve or whip or weight-lift your body into a light-headedness and then to a clear awareness of being outside that body, yet sentient. But there's a pleasure in acetism that is in itself a sensual thing, a kind of attachment to the body. What odd sorts of fun we discover. Acetisim as an addictive drug!

The more nothing one is, the more capable one is of being what one chooses to be. Keats called this ("negative capability") the basis of his poetry, the ability to BE the bird he heard singing outside the window, to be absent from "self" (really self's constructs and associations). (He explains all this in a famous letter.)

Some with this capability get worried about it, become hovering clouds of anxiety, because they resist it, or, like James Boswell (writer of what is broadly considered the finest biography every written, the life of 18th Century literary lion, essayist and dictionary writer, Samuel Johnson) alternated between relishing and seeking to reject this "negative capability." (This comes up in his diaries.) He would hang out with the great figures of his time (Johnson, Rousseau, Voltaire, Burke, etc.), be charming and immerse himself in their personalities, could become them, had the chameleon nature associated with some of the great confidence men. He was terrific at drawing them out, would have been a crack reporter. For example, in the biography, Johnson is gotten to say some great things by "a gentleman present" who asks what seems to be a dumb question. In the diaries we find that the gentleman was Boswell. We also find, in the diaries, Boswell deciding who he will be the next day.

His ability to be others was one of his great joys, as it was Keats' greatest joy. Boswell's other great joy was his connection to people like Johnson who seemed absolutely certain of their identities, men as solidly themselves as some granite boulder on a mountain that approximates a man's head. And yet, he, this nothing, was able to find friendship and even warmth with Johnson, not so surprising when you learn (from Boswell) that in his later years Johnson would awake in the darkest hours of the night feeling that he was going insane, and would loudly recite all the Latin prayers he could remember to persuade himself that he was still there, still sane.

Probably Johnson's uncertainty was as great a magnet for Boswell as his certainty.

Great actors sometimes enjoy or suffer from this awareness that whatever they are is the role they've chosen to play. They are considered great actors because they are able to go deep in letting go of what is normally considered "themselves" in order to be someone else.

When I say we aren't these bodies (or these sentences), I say it because I've experienced it to some extent. At various times I've been as aware of the body as something not myself as I've ever been of the body as "me." I've perceived things the body could not perceive quite vividly. Some would call this a brain disorder. But what I experienced was perceiving what I perceived -- and even having those perceptions validated by others who also perceived them. And my state at such times was sometimes a joyous, calm state, sometimes an agitated, disturbed state.

What made the difference? The extent to which I knowingly and willingly brought about the state and was more or less in control. A drug or a sudden hard impact or terror or other traumas may knock a person into such a state, and in most cases, the state will be overwhelming and unreal, possibly terrifying, or addictively thrilling. In the latter case, the person tries the drug again and again to recover the thrill and avoid the crash of coming down -- and becomes progressively less and less able to recapture the "high". In any case, one becomes less and less able to be apart from the body, more "stuck" in it, more solid. It's as if the drug ejects you (like a pilot's explosive ejection capsule) -- after all, drugs are toxic -- but you are ejected on an elastic leash and snapped back in, and that's something we find unpleasant. It's enough to make the idea of not being one's body very unpleasant!

My own experience of my body, nearly always, is that it's a part of a considerably larger space that I inhabit and can expand or contract. My ability to maintain or expand or contract this space is relative, something that has increased gradually over the years. Sometimes it is real to me, as I write, that my space has reached out to include those who will read (are reading) these words. I think that when people communicate well, to some extent, they become one another. I think poetry, when it is good poetry, is good communication.

I haven't always been this at ease with space and my body and who I am and what I write. That took work. If anyone wants to discuss such things, email me. But this is not intended to be a pitch, just a commentary on mountains and doves.

I wrote that poem years ago after finding myself a bit turned-off by too many "spiritual" people who, in their own hushed-voiced, orgasmic affectations, were solid and very very seriously so. I ran into lots of them in Haight-Ashbury, in Taos, New Mexico, etc. -- all the "spiritual" places. It seems to me that spiritual awareness is the opposite of this: It is light, not heavy; fun, not serious; insouciant, not dark and holier-than-thou; able to be in good communication, not glowering at the world from feverish Rasputin eyes; playful, but not devoted to one-ups-manship (that is, not heavily involved in proving to others that they are spiritually ignorant of what the Guru knows and incapable of ever knowing it fully themselves).

I remember, for example, sitting in an esoteric coffeehouse (could have been Taos, Haight-Ashbury or on Telegraph Avenue in Berkeley or a dive near the University of Minnesota (10 O'Clock Scholar, it was called -- where Dylan performed before he became Dylan [now there's a guy who moves in and out of the heavy Guru games] -- happened in all of these places), and as I sip my espresso and look about me, I see some, guy, long-bearded, mystically regaled (perhaps with silver and turquoise, perhaps beads and flowers, perhaps robes, rags...), and he catches my eye with a "deep," piercing glare, and I realize the guy is trying to stare me down and that a kind of force moves out towards me along his line of vision...and it's STICKY! (If I were a cat, I'd lick myself off!) The spiritual presence was that of a fat spider at the center of his web. He wasn't so much being a body as being a negative spirit, a "minus spirit" -- someone in the spiritual state of not quite being able to be a body, a kind of animated death that is less than death.

Experiences of that sort persuaded me that much of what people call "spiritual" is intended to drive people away from awareness of themselves as spiritual beings. Who'd want to achieve awareness of immortality if it meant being condemned forever to be a vampire? (Some would, I guess.) So my little poem isn't an attack on Taos (for example), a beautiful area. Or mountains or doves or perception of spiritual presences in objects. It's about "spirituality" that makes the idea of spirituality repulsive.

Dean Blehert
Blogs: (short poems) (essays and longer poems)
My latest book, Volume One of the Complete "Deanotations" (about a thousand of my poems with annotation and illustrations by Pam Blehert)is available from me or from (On Lulu, just search for "Blehert" and you'll find it. Or email me at

Friday, June 19, 2009


In a new development, remaining trees
are in shock, still numb to the loss
of their forest, leaving acres of red mud,
kindling and new houses.

In a few years they recover, forgive,
even (as slaves become loyal retainers
or wild animals become pets) grow to love
their new Lanes, Courts and Places, quick flit
of children, men with mowers, sunny lawns
strewn with acorns, needles and leaves
over which they arch dutifully,
good old trees,

but sometimes in a cold shock of memory
they shiver.

[Note: And they treat the newcomers, for example, impotent decorative Braddock pear trees, with disdain.]

Dean Blehert
Blogs: (short poems) (essays and longer poems)
New book (Deanotations, Volume 1) available at

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Trees and Darkness

Trees sponge up darkness,
still moist with night
in bright noon.

[Just an impression. Night has a particular meaning for trees, since they eat light. I suppose, in darkness, they don't starve, but digest (as we do). But these were big globes of summer foliage, even at noon, seeming to hold within them (sources of shade, after all) volumes of night.]

Dean Blehert
Blogs: (short poems) (essays and longer poems)
New book (Deanotations, Volume 1) available at

My Native State

I'll bet that's a Minnesotan--
That one, there, without a coat on...
"Hey, it's winter! This ain't fall!"
Ah, skip it! That guy's from St. Paul.

Note: I was born and raised in St. Paul, MN. It gets even colder in Duluth, so here's a story told in limericks about that city--chosen mainly for the sake of the rhymes:

Ginless Martinis -- in Five Lime Rickeys

There was once a young man in Duluth

Who was awfully fond of vermouth.
Calling for a martini,
He’d say, "Please, gin part TEENY!"
For he feared straight vermouth was uncouth.

Now his favorite bartender was Morton,
Who would hold back the gin -- very sportin’!
"One more moretini, Martin --
Don’t be shtinting, you Shpartan!...
One vermeeth, I moon--gin you can short on."

He was picked up one night, this spoiled youth,
By a dame rather long in the tooth;
She said, "Babe, let’s vamoose,
But the boy was so loose
That they collapsed in the nearest phone booth.

In the darkness, they giggled and groped.
She was old, he was drunk, but they coped;
Given darkness and youth,
Vermouth made its own truth...
The next morning he learned they’d eloped.

Yes, there’s wormwood, my friends, in vermouth.
Whether toping or tupping, forsooth,
Stir or shake it, but thin
Your sweet vermouth with gin...
What the hell! It’s December. It’s Duluth.

[Note: I don't know if anyone else strings limericks into a narrative. I've written several such limerick groups. Lime Rickey, besides being a drink, spells out "limerickey." "Toping"=heavy drinking. "Tupping"=mounting (for sex), literally a ram mounting a ewe. I have no idea whether gin "thins" the vermouth, weakening the drink or vice versa, but for this poem, I needed vermouth to get the guy in trouble. In fact, I don't think I've ever tasted a martini. I just realized that a martini is idea for tupping, since, spelled backwards it is IN IT, RAM! A good drink for Aries?]

Dean Blehert
Blogs: (short poems) (essays and longer poems)
New book (Deanotations, Volume 1) available at

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


Replete With Gleet, I Bleet

Today I discovered gleet.
It's been right here in my lexicon all these years,
but I didn't seet.
Gleet: FORMERLY any morbid discharge from the
body [including feet?]
(And to the Scots, slimy matter, ooze--Neat!),
NOW a chronic mucous discharge from the Urethra
in Gonorrhea
[And maybe from other tribes in neighboring
nations?], another reason why condoms are
good forrhea.
Also, a "chronic discharge from the nasal cavities
of horses, etc."
(I wonder what is "etc." to the nasal cavities of
horses? Shall we discuss it long after we've
the soups and white-saurces et and especially
the tapioca courses? Let's!)
Also a verb; To gleet.
Gleetings, my fellow poets, and salivatations
wherever we may meet,
But not just before we eat.

[Note: A very silly poem a la Ogden Nash, who liked the variable line lengths and the forced rhymes, such as Gonorrhea rhymed with "good forrhea" -- that is, good for ya; and gleet rhymed with seet (see it); and the double outrage of rhyming "horses, etc." with "white-saurces et" (white sauces eaten) and "courses? Let's!"

(I thought white sauces and tapioca would be particularly hard to take during a discussion of gleet.)

What inspired the poem was, of course, in a dictionary, running into this word (gleet), amazed I'd never encountered it before, with all its juicy meanings, the sort relished by children, so easily enchanted by songs about greasy grimy gopher guts.

Many poets before Nash wrote stuff with irregular lines and bad rhymes, but Nash was one of the first to do it on purpose. Part of the fun of it is having the tail (rhyme) wag the dog (line rhythm and meter). In English, the rhythm of the line is far more important than the rhyme. Much English poetry lacks rhyme, but is recognizable as poetry because of regular meter (for example, most of Shakespeare's plays) or because of other rhythmic elements in the lines. Nash not only tossed out regular line lengths and kept rhyme, but emphasized the rhyme grotesquely with humorously strained rhymes. And what he did with his lines was done by a skilled writer of metrical poetry. He hid behind the irregularity all sorts of rhythmic elements. The main trick is that an extremely long line gets the reader to race through the words to get to the rhyme, after which a shorter line becomes slow and stressed, in contrast, enabling the poet to understate that last line and be more indirect, since the shortness of the line will give the reader pause enough to catch the poet's drift.

Not all of his poetry is in this form. And not all his poetry is humorous. But this form is most particularly his.

Nash's poetry has already out-lived the typical survival time for light verse. I think he'll be around for a long time. The Nash Rambler may yet outlive Chryslers and Chevrolets.]

Dean Blehert
Blogs: (short poems) (essays and longer poems)
New book (Deanotations, Volume 1) available at

Sunday, June 14, 2009


Speaking of candidates, many years ago, my children, a little man with big ears named H. Ross Perot, decided to run for president as an independent candidate. He had odd ideas--for example, that a nation should pay off its debts. He wanted to run the country as he'd run his prosperous business. Peppy little guy. Did pretty well, then mysteriously dropped out of the race, claiming the life of his daughter had been threatened if he stayed in (something like that)--which the pundits ridiculed. All the pundits come to instant agreement sometimes, usually on the biggest lies (in this case, the likely lie that Perot was simply a silly man making up stories).

Some lines I wrote at the time about Perot seem to apply to nearly all elections. I wasn't that fond of Perot myself (though year by year he, as he was, looks better and better), which led me to write the following:

H. Ross Perot: The worst candidate
who's ever been the best candidate.

[And every election since, the best candidate seems worse. One of the things about Bush that most pisses me off is that he "made" me vote for Kerry. (Apologies to those who still think W was a fine president. Personal opinions may be closer to us than they appear in the mirror.)]

I also wrote the following, which is less meaningful, but more fun--just seeing what I could do with Perot's name, which (like "Elmo" in "Where's Elmo?") comes up MANY times in the poem, in one form or another (I've Italicized his distorted mirror reflections in the poem):

Perotest Vote

Simply peruse Perot's prose
To see why Perot's temper rose
At what this ponderous pauper owes,
As zeroes sprout in proper rows.
Faster than the hole in the upper oz-
-one, our deficit more monstrous grows.
We've got to dump the D.C. pros
Who think we're silly clowns, pierrots!
They paint our future in pure rose;
It's pure red ink, and up it goes!
If we don't pay the piper, who's
The loser who must reap our ruse?
Our kids! They'll have a country whose
Gross Product's paltrier than Peru's.
Face the music, cut the dross--
That's the only way, per Ross.
Perot pro patria's the pero-
-ation of H. Ross Perot.

[Note: The "pauper" is the United States Government. "Pay the piper" is an old idiom meaning to pay for one's pleasures, take responsibility for one's obligations. "Pro Patria"--Latin: For the Fatherland. A peroration (pero-ration--a ration of perot!) is the dramatic conclusion of a speech.]

Dean Blehert
Blogs: (short poems) (essays and longer poems)
New book (Deanotations, Volume 1) available at

Saturday, June 13, 2009


Just a note to say that,
finding the bag where you left it
in the fridge, I, to be candid, ate
the candied dates. What's left
is the pits.

[Note: This is another punny one. It's a take-off on a short poem by William Carlos Williams (see called "This is just to say" -- that he's eaten someone's plums. But I wrote mine in a typical election year, in which the choices sucked. So I ate all the candidates (candied dates). (Dream on!)]

Dean Blehert
Blogs: (short poems) (essays and longer poems)
New book (Deanotations, Volume 1) available at

Friday, June 12, 2009


Did the Tudors take over England
in a coupe?
(If so, historians are missing
coupe data.)

[Notes for the pun-challenged: A sedan ("see, Dan") has four doors. A coupe has two--hence is a Tudor, which is a dynasty that once ruled England (included Henry VII and Henry VIII and his daughter Elizabeth I). Since there's no data that they took over in a coupe (no such car having yet been invented), if they did, historians are missing it. And that means they're missing coupe data (or coup d'etat--a bloodless takeover, literally a blow of state), a visual pun weakened as audio by the fact that the "p" in coup is silent, while the "p" in coupe is loud and clear. As you all know, some p's are noiser than others. (And that's another pun. It suggests that psychiatrists and psychologists take silent pees. While sighing audibly?) And "d'etat" is weakened VISUALLY, but strengthened auditorily (is that a word?) by the fact that "d'etat" is prounced day-tah (or, almost, data).]

[A dynasty is called a dynasty because when a Monarch leaves behind many potential inheritors for his throne, usually some die nasty deaths.]

Dean Blehert
Blogs: (short poems) (essays and longer poems)
New book (Deanotations, Volume 1) available at

Thursday, June 11, 2009


"Agon": Greek for conflict.
"Pent": Held in, not released.
"Pentagon": Conflict that isn't allowed
to go away.

[Note: Our military-industrial complex seems to prefer to have a war going on, hot or cold. Some would argue it's really the intelligence-industrial complex. Some military higher-ups prefer peace, and we've usually had relatively peaceful periods with ex-generals as president. They've seen enough of war.

But I think it's fair to say the Pentagon is part of a complex organization that has vested interests not necessarily shared by most of the citizens of this nation. It was wonderfully opportune, the way our leaders and talking heads, after being staggered (caught with their war down) by the sudden disappearance of the Cold War, when the much bally-hooed Soviet might went bankrupt--wonderfully opportune how, after a bit of waffling, they were able to pull out of their hats (or other less aromatic orifices) this War on Terrorism, a war that, almost by definition, can never end.

That seems to have been the game for a long time, by the way: To create a war that can go on indefinitely, requiring vast expenditures on weaponry and other military-related products (and profits for those who produce them and their symbiotes) that never end. After all, something like World War II is too much--might destroy everyone's profits. And live slaves are more useful than dead ones...if only slightly. But a COLD WAR with lots of little offshoot wars far away in the "third world"--that can go on forever, they (some they, the "they" that has usurped that pronoun) hoped.

A War on Terror has zero limits. One can always create more terrorists. In fact, everything we do to defeat terrorists is likely to create more. And in the absence of "real" terrorists, we can always blow something up and attribute it to terrorists--as Goering and Hitler well knew.

Our pentagony goes on (agon and agon, a gun and a gun, aggh! Never a gain?)]

[Note: As you probably know, the actual derivation of "Pentagon" = five (penta) corners or angles (the "gon"). It's about a building, not our pent up conflicts, nor is it the price tag on my pen.]

Dean Blehert
Blogs: (short poems) (essays and longer poems)
New book (Deanotations, Volume 1) available at

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


Nothing persists
like an abandoned

[Note: I wrote this long enough ago that I'm no longer sure what it's about, but, reading it newly, it seems to make sense. When we're haunted by lost love, lost childhood, lost whatever, it's because they were "supposed to" last they are. The sequence seems to be: We decide that something will last forever. Later we decide that that something is lost, gone, dead. But we don't then change the original decision that it will last forever. That's still sitting there, right where we put it. So we are surrounded by ghosts, the only way something can persist once we decide it's dead. Our decisions are more powerful than we think.]

Dean Blehert
Blogs: (short poems) (essays and longer poems)
New book (Deanotations, Volume 1) available at

Sunday, June 7, 2009


"I see London, I see France,
I see someone's underpants!"

Decades ago we children chanted that.
If all the underpants I've seen since
were on one beach, they'd flutter
like great flocks gathered for nesting
or the litter left behind when rain
chases away the tourists.

On the whole, I'm satisfied,
but wish I'd seen
London and France.

Dean Blehert
Blogs: (short poems) (essays and longer poems)
New book (Deanotations, Volume 1) available at

Saturday, May 30, 2009

They Sperm Men On--And What Eggs THEM On?

[I will be off email for about a week--tomorrow too busy, and for 5 days following, out of town, so here are poems for the next week.]

An orgasm is the cummulative
of their entire lifetimes
before the eyes of three hundred million
drowning sperm.

[Note: Hmmm--seems kind of sexist, since it would apply best to a male orgasm.]

I'm eating so much fiber
I've become a bulk male.

[Note: For the pun-challenged, bulk male/bulk mail, and fiber is said to provide bulk.]

TV ad cameramen--masters of the art
of showing clothes coming off
or soap slathered on, but not
what they're coming off of
or being slathered onto.

[Note: Don't feel guilty, guys, if you started to get turned on by soap sleeked onto what turned out to be the fold of an elbow or the bottom of what turned out to be a baby. And if you had some warm thoughts when the camera showed silken stuff being kicked off calves and feet, hey, that's what the sponsors wanted!]

Puberty is when the children sound like
an old banal situation comedy,
their laugh-track so frenetically inept
that you wonder if they've become
oozy and hairy yet.

[Note: Kids emotionally stressed and laughing at the wrong places are here compared to old TV sitcoms (which had wildly unreal laugh tracks, with uproarious laughter at the lamest jokes), because I wanted to get to the final pun on "Ozzie and Harriet," one of the lamest sitcoms of all time, on which, for example, the allocators of taped laughter apparently thought that little Rickie Nelson, saying week after week, "I don't mess around, boy!" was hilarious. Oddly enough, lame as it was as comedy, the show was around, it seemed, forever, on radio, then TV, I think mainly because the characters were so pleasant and "wholesome" in their bland way. For the pun-impaired, puberty is when kids get hairy (crotches, arm pits, etc.) and oozy (various "vital fluids"--for example, menstruation starts for women...); hence, one wonders if they are "oozy and hairy yet" -- or Ozzie and Harriet.]

Alcohol, drugs--people trying
to open up their heads
and let the sunshine in...
with a can opener.

[Note: I think lines 2 and 3 are based on the chorus of a pro-psychedelic song from the musical "Hair." (I say "I think" because I wrote this long ago, and don't recall for certain.)]

What happened to education?
It was killed by the Dewey Dewey fog.

[Note: There's an old folk song in which someone is killed by the foggy foggy dew. I turned that around to give John Dewey his just deserts. Dewey descended upon our educational system as a sort of toxic mist. He ran (many decades ago) the Columbia University Teacher's College. I've forgotten the details (some Googling may turn them up, or look for a book called The Leipzig Connection by Paolo Leonni--it may be online), but Dewey was part of a campaign, largely funded by Rockefellers to turn the American educational system into a means of constructing a new social order where kids weren't educated to make them literate and flexible and able to think and to bring out their abilities, but instead to encourage them to lower their standards and keep their proper place in society. The idea was that most should be put on a track to be laborers and not distracted by anything that might encourage bigger dreams. Dewey was a major proponent of the idea that education should be aimed at teaching children to be "well-adjusted." Go along to get along, conform to the environment. Don't adjust the environment to suit yourself. Much that has followed in the degeneration of our educational system was pioneered by Dewey.]

The "science" of psychiatry is mostly guesswork,
having no proven laws nor formulas. For example,
they are not certain if doubling the number
of psychiatrists would double or quadruple
the number of mentally ill people.

Psych-iatry means "healing the spirit,"
or perhaps it is "heeling, as in
"HEEL, Spirit!"


Homelessness is where the
heartlessness is.

[Note: I hope no one is unfamiliar with the old adage this is based on: "Home is where the heart is."]

[And just to get away from that string of socially bristling poems...]

Pardon me, green bug.
I meant to scoot you from the page,
not to crush you.

Dean Blehert
Blogs: (short poems) (essays and longer poems)
New book (Deanotations, Volume 1) available at

Friday, May 29, 2009


Life is a lingering disease.
I've grown accustomed to despair.
Don't confuse me, silly breeze,
Running swift fingers through my hair.

[Note: I wrote a much longer poem, based on that same moment--out for a walk, feeling the world sucked, then feeling mildly irritated with the breeze's trying to console me--but feeling consoled, nonetheless. This shorter version seems to say it best.]

Dean Blehert
Blogs: (short poems) (essays and longer poems)
New book (Deanotations, Volume 1) available at

Thursday, May 28, 2009


Hello, tongue!--I'm a tongue too!

[Note: Maybe not the world's shortest love poem....]

Dean Blehert
Blogs: (short poems) (essays and longer poems)
New book (Deanotations, Volume 1) available at

Monday, May 25, 2009


Her poem had a dull refrain:
Each time she got to it,
I wished she would.

[A rather dull note (for most readers): So how does "refrain" come to mean both "hold back or rein in" and a bit of verse or music that is repeated, a chorus? Two different words, actually. Both have "back" ("re-") in them. One holds back a response (refrains) and one goes back to the same chorus again (to the refrain). But the frain part in the first is from a Latin word for "to curb" (frenare), which comes from frenum, rein. In the second "refrain," my dictionary says it's from an old French word, meaning to restrain or modulate (hmmm--"restrain" sounds like the first "refrain"), which is from Latin "refringere," to break back, "frangere" meaning "to break." I suppose the song's refrain is a break in the song's forward progress to go back to the chorus.

This makes me suspect the words are joined again at some deeper root, since one uses a rein to "break" a horse, but I don't have time to track it down. In any case, that poet's dull refrain would not go away (as in "Frain, Frain, go away...", a pun that makes more sense now that I know Frain is rein, which, to make sense in the nursery rhyme, we would write as "rain", and that would be right as rain.]

[Will you cease this dull refrain
You've been etching on my brain,
Or forever in this vein,
Repetitiously insane,
Go on forging this steel chain,
This excruciating bane,
Rendering all my pleadings vain?

Quote the poet, "Evermore!"]


Dean Blehert
Blogs: (short poems) (essays and longer poems)
New book (Deanotations, Volume 1) available at

Saturday, May 23, 2009

A Babble of Bloggers?

A pride of lions, an ecstasy of larks,
a preening of starlets, a clutch of fans,
a privy of poets,
a carping of critics,
a quibble of scholars,
a scarcity of readers,
a courtesy of applause,
a reality of silence.

[Immodest Note: In recent years I've seen many witty people inventing variants of this sort--a [fill in the blank] of lawyers, a [FITB] of psychiatrists, etc. Newspapers run contests for this sort of thing. But I wrote the poem, above, around 1990, at which time, I do NOT recall seeing others doing this little exercise. Who knows, maybe I was an "influence."

Silly Note: "Scarcity"--a city where everyone is scarred?

Serious note: I do NOT suffer from an extreme scarcity of readers, but many poets do. I'm a fortunate poet. (Though "a scarcity of book purchasers" might apply. A Victorian Mother would scold me: "Why should they pay, when you're giving it away!")]

Dean Blehert
Blogs: (short poems) (essays and longer poems)
New book (Deanotations, Volume 1) available at

Friday, May 22, 2009


[Note: Two poems today, Thursday's and Friday's.]

Guests have co-opted our queen-sized bed,
so we share a single. It's easy--
we're so used to twisting carefully
around sleeping cats we haven't the heart
to disturb--avoiding them
as two contortionists in a box
avoid swords.

[Note: I hope you've all seen that circus act, one or more contortionists get into a box, and then someone thrusts swords through the box in enough places that it seems impossible that those inside it are not skewered. The swords are real, and they ARE pushed through the box through pre-made slots. The contortionists know where these slots are, and manage to twist their bodies out of the way of each sword-path. (For a while we had three cats--and one was quite a swordsman!)

Perhaps a clearer comparison would have us be streams winding around rocks.

It's silly, this concern about disturbing a sleeping cat, since the cats themselves move so simply and quickly from apparently deep sleep to wakefulness, but when they sleep, they do so with such an intensity and apparent abandon that I feel, if I wake them when I get into bed, as if I've violated a trust. But there are times when I don't hesitate to shoo--or rather barefoot--them off the bed (see next poem!).]

I am in favor of marital sex:
We merit all we can get.

Dean Blehert
Blogs: (short poems) (essays and longer poems)
New book (Deanotations, Volume 1) available at

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


Gray day, everything wet,
a world full of dark, empty mirrors:
Come out, Sun, and
see yourself!

Note to readers: If you know others you think would enjoy these poems, please let them know. You can either give them my email (maybe forward a few poems to them) and suggest they get in touch with me, or you can give me THEIR names and email addresses. If you do that, I won't add them to the list immediately. I'll send each an email stating that [your name] said they might enjoy receiving my daily poem. I'll include a few examples, and ask them for permission to add them to my daily poem list.

Dean Blehert
Blogs: (short poems) (essays and longer poems)
New book (Deanotations, Volume 1) available at

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


The girl in the loose blouse
and no bra walks past looking
straight ahead with no smile,

but I smile, and her boobs
bounce their laughter in reply.

[Note on form: This happens to be, roughly, in a Japanese form called "tanka."]

Dean Blehert
Blogs: (short poems) (essays and longer poems)
New book (Deanotations, Volume 1) available at

Saturday, May 16, 2009


[Due to time crunch, here, yes HERE, Ladies and Gentlemen, I offer you THREE, count 'em, Three (3) genuine Dean Blehert poemlets for the price of one, your poems for Friday, Sat. AND (last, but not least) SUNDAY!!]

The tiny screen says this and that,
Flows in my eyes and turns to fat.
It's deep as a magician's hat--
How could I bulge from something flat?

[Note: Are images from a flat screen fattening? I think it's the bowl games, by which I mean the games of nibbing stuff from bowls as I watch TV.]

The elevator fills up
with cheery music
and dull backgound

I like Bach's music,
but the best part
is the background universe.

[Note: These last two offer twists on the notion "background music"--what makes it "background" and something else "foreground"? The elevator poem is pretty obvious, I think. Perhaps "cheery" should be "cheesy," since it's often mediocre, limp instrumental versions of lively songs rendered by someone's 10,000 slack strings, superficially cheerful, but basically music designed not to jar anyone's hangover.

(Which reminds me that Handel, a German composer, Bach's contemporary, wrote music for the court in England, a dynasty from Hanover, in Germany. No doubt he didn't want his music to upset the Georges or jar anyone's Hanover.)

(That's correct, the English royalty--which, during 20th century wars with German cousins, changed it's name from Hanover and it's longer 1901-1917 name, Saxe-Coburg-Gotha (a larger section of Germany), to "Windsor"--that dynasty is from Germany. For a couple generations of Georges the kings spoke German, not English, and until they ran out of male heirs to the throne, they remained the rulers of Hanover. The laws in Hanover required a male ruler. The laws of England did not, and England's most distinguished and long-lived monarchs have been women--the two Elizabeths and Victoria. It's the males of the dynasty who've been more likely to die nasty.) (Yes, I know, the first Elizabeth was a Tudor, an earlier dynasty, not of German extraction, but that's not germane to my point about England's great ladies.)

The Bach poem is trickier: It's not just that Bach (and some other composers) are so powerful that they demand "foreground" billing. It's also two other factors: The first is that Bach is kind of annoying if you don't pay attention. Usually I'd prefer silence to background Bach, especially one of his complex fugues, musical devices of torture if you don't engage with them. The trick is to pick out a theme and align other themes and developments to that theme and then KEEP UP, and if you do that (and it's a bit like keeping up with varied and syncopated movements of tall grass in a breeze), it does something to your preception of time and motion, so that the universe starts to dance. The trees are moving to the music, and even star-twinkle seems to dig it.

Lots of music has this capability--maybe ANY music, since it's really OUR capability, music being a facilitator. But some music seems to demand it, like Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D Minor, Beethoven's Late String Quartets, Bartok's String Quartet's 3 thru 6...and if you can do this yourself with no music (and no drug), but just your own intention, if you can make the universe dance (and you CAN), Bach won't object, and Time will have no dominion. You'll be the "different drummer" to which your universe moves.

If you depend on someone else's music for your time, that's Bachwards, and may lead to thirst when the pump don't work cause the vandals stole the Handel. (There's a bit of Bob Dylan Haydn in that last sentence.)]

Dean Blehert
Blogs: (short poems) (essays and longer poems)
New book (Deanotations, Volume 1) available at

Thursday, May 14, 2009


Who gets money from a PAC?
Guys in office never lack.
Nice to be an incumbent,
With campaigns thus income-bent.

Notes: A PAC is a Political Action Committee, a means of raising funds for election campaigns. In campaigns these days, the candidate who can raise the most money usually wins, especially at the federal level, where campaigns are extremely expensive. Usually this favors the incumbents (those already in office) over the challengers. The big contributors want to bet on the right horse, and feel safest backing the guy already in office, unless he has badly offended them. A campaign that's "income-bent" is both inclined (bent) toward or aimed at bringing in money and perhaps perverted ("bent") by the process.

Even if I didn't believe in the views implied (and I do), I'd have written this poem just as a setting for the pun (incumbent, income-bent). That's just the sort of poet I am--pun-bent. How sad!

Dean Blehert
Blogs: (short poems) (essays and longer poems)
New book (Deanotations, Volume 1) available at

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


We stop walking, stuck in silence.
Instantly a cloud of flies descends,
lured by the stench of
what we didn't finish saying.

[Note for a poem about vampires:

Do the eerie undead
Speak our words left unsaid?]

I was busy saying nothing
when your silence
interrupted me.

[Note: Ever been holding forth to someone at great length, when you notice the other person's silence (and unresponsiveness) and are brought up short by it?]

I savor snow and silence.
Over the hill buzzes a helicopter,
behind it the giant shadow of my hand
clutching a fly-swatter...

[Another reason why we don't let our wishes come true! Too many squished helicopters.]

Dean Blehert
Blogs: (short poems) (essays and longer poems)
New book (Deanotations, Volume 1) available at

Sunday, May 10, 2009



If that's what desire has come to,
the world will end, not in fire,
but plastic.

[Note: The first line was an advertising slogan for MacDonalds back in the 80s--maybe still in use? The remaining lines refer to a poem by Robert Frost about how some say the world will end in fire, some say in ice, and (says the poet) from what he's seen of desire, he can see how it might well end in fire, etc. My take is if "WHAT YOU WANT..." is something you can get at MacDonalds, your desires are burnt out.

The complete Frost poem (it's very short) can be found at]

Dean Blehert
Blogs: (short poems) (essays and longer poems)
New book (Deanotations, Volume 1) available at

Saturday, May 9, 2009

OD'd on Poetry

Such a racket of feelings:
Clearly this poet lost her mommy.
That one lost his daddy.
This one needs a good cry.
That one is a good lay.
This one is hungry and that one
feels guilty that others are hungry.
This one likes having loved ones,
but isn't sure about always having them,
and if not, how that changes the feeling
of having them. That one is gaga
about something I never heard of before,
but it's purple, and I think
it's some sort of flower. That one
would like to break windows until
everyone (or whover THE SYSTEM is)
knows that he is not one of THEM
and to have THEM admire him for it,
but not too much. These poets
could be anyone, but significantly,

[Note: One way to read this poem is to treat it as notes taken at a poetry reading, where each line or two describes one of the readers and also a popular type of current poetry, reducing it to its basic communication.

For example, many poets, usually young, sexy women all in black, including short skirt and panti-hose, intone in husky voice what amounts to "I'm so hot--make love to me!" (As the poem says, "that one a good lay." And any number of poems basically say "I've lost my mommie" or "I've lost my daddy." The "rebel" seems to be slinging his words as if they were bricks aimed at the establishment's windows, but he seems to expect those he is addressing (and tends to lump in with the establishment) to admire all this, but he doesn't want to much admiration, since that's selling out -- and all this comes across in every word and every gesture, all his push-pulls against the world.

As the poem says, these various postures are not restricted to poets/artists, but poets make a bigger thing of them, puff them up with fancy language. All I've done is stripped away the added ornamentation that most people mistake for poetry.

I've added this long comment, because I've found that, while the above poem is immediately clear to most people who've hung out in poetry circles, it may be obscure to those who have not. And also because I like the sound of my voice on the page -- can you hear it? How?]

Dean Blehert
Blogs: (short poems) (essays and longer poems)
New book (Deanotations, Volume 1) available at

Thursday, May 7, 2009


When I enter the room, the dog
beats her tail on the floor:
I wish I could do that.

p.s. I just added three new poems/essays to the dearreader08 blog (see below).

Dean Blehert
Blogs: (short poems) (essays and longer poems)
New book (Deanotations, Volume 1) available at


We decorate time
with each other.

Dean Blehert
Blogs: (short poems) (essays and longer poems)
New book (Deanotations, Volume 1) available at


Young soldiers go off to war buoyant,
as if it were their own idea.
Probably the pawns don't realize,
when they are leaping two squares ahead
on their first move, that they can only
keep going in the same direction.

[Note: I suppose this is one-sided, that there are some "good wars," not based on lies, that brave young people shouldn't be called pawns and that they know exactly what they're getting into. I'd like to be able to believe that. This much I can say for the soldiers: if they are pawns, so are most of their fellow citizens, believing what they are told to believe, doing what they are told to do, whether it be going to the doctor to demand they be prescribed the latest wonder drug or voting for the candidate who says exactly what (as surveys show) they want to hear. Meanwhile the soldier (by shifting two letters) becomes "solider".]

Dean Blehert
Blogs: (short poems) (essays and longer poems)
New book (Deanotations, Volume 1) available at

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

To An Old Friend

I stroke his head. His tail wags wildly,
pink tongue flicking up at me, politely
begging to touch my face. Yesteray
he met a baby bird that puffed up its feathers
in fear before his solemn curiosity.
When I dawdle too long before our walk,
he talks to me, a deep sweet questioning lilt.

In Iraq, Afghanistan, Sudan
men slaughter each other. At home lies
burrow termite tunnels beneath social smiles.
Old dog, it is outrageous, it is intolerable,
your sweetness.

Dean Blehert
Blogs: (short poems) (essays and longer poems)
New book (Deanotations, Volume 1) available at

Monday, May 4, 2009

Lost and Profound

I'm sorry, but I can't help you,
says the bureaucrat
from the Depts. of her heart.

Dean Blehert
Blogs: (short poems) (essays and longer poems)
New book (Deanotations, Volume 1) available at

Sunday, May 3, 2009


We Can't Go On Meeting This Way

If my voice, my smile seem
as intimate to you as your own
(yours seem my own), it's because
you and I met long ago in a dream
(which is where first meetings happen),

a dream I'd thought my own
until the day my setting sun
surprised me
with a tint of airy blue
I'd never put there.
Thus the game began:

I put forth Romeo and Juliet. You
covertly took over Juliet, and
when my Romeo's avid lips drew near,
your Juliet's tiny teeth nipped off his nose.
I did a quick fade out (stifling
an earthquake of giggles, thinking--
one of us thinking--"Will Romeo
be rebuilt in a day?"--

fade out to a long white beach
with palm trees and crashing surf.
You turned into an old airplane
and sputtered across the sun,
dragging a Coca Cola sign. I became
an ack-ack gun, you an elegant finger
plugging my gun barrel. I became a
crocodile, jaws closing over the finger,
which became a stick thrust crossways
to prop open my jaws--

Go back to the, the finger, no,
just play it out (I said, you said, we...)--

and so into the soft sky rises our
crocodile, trailing a Coca Cola banner,
and, flaring to lurid orange,
sets slowly in the Western sky.

[Note: What sorts of games would we play if we were immortal beings capable of creating things to be and being those things (bodies, trees, cars, oceans, planets, suns)? And even capable of creating universes? It seems to me our games would be aesthetic. And often they'd be silly. We wouldn't go around being nothing but sublime. Our Jonathon Livingston sea gulls would crap on lovers. Our serene sunsets would surprise us with farts. We'd have fun. And maybe we did. Maybe under cover of the agreed-upon solidity of "reality," we still play these games, calling them "mere imagination."]

Dean Blehert
Blogs: (short poems) (essays and longer poems)
New book (Deanotations, Volume 1) available at

Friday, May 1, 2009


The clouds break open.
Sunbeams streak up each tree
like golden squirrels.

[Note: Though spots of sunlight (still infiltrated by cloud shade) remind me of squirrels as they dart up tree trunks, the squirrels spiral around the trunk as they "streak" -- trying to evade our viewing them. And by name, they are shadows, not sun: "Squirrel" derives from two Greek words meaning "shadow tail."]

Dean Blehert
Blogs: (short poems) (essays and longer poems)
New book (Deanotations, Volume 1) available at

Thursday, April 30, 2009


Know myself:
Lean forward far enough
to miss my belly
when I spit.

Dean Blehert
Blogs: (short poems) (essays and longer poems)
New book (Deanotations, Volume 1) available at

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Solving the Energy Crisis

To help us break our dependency
on OPEC oil, we have developed
the bookburner. It runs best on poetry
anthologies and "little magazines," which,
like oil, consist mainly of compressed,
refined fossils. Plenty of fuel.

But we must proceed cautiously
and not commit ourselves to this
energy source until we've established
contingency plans for containing
potential spillage of raw poetry
into the community, contaminating
our children with literacy.

[Note: "Little Magazines," refers to magazines (usually containing poetry, short stories, critical reviews of literature) from small presses. When I say that they consist mainly of compressed, refined fossils, it is possible I'm referring to the paper or ink, but also remotely possible that I'm referring to the quality of the poetry found in most such magazines.]

Dean Blehert
Blogs: (short poems) (essays and longer poems)
New book (Deanotations, Volume 1) available at

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


"You're so prolific!!"

Not pro-choicic?

[Note: Also I tend to be profound, rather than prolost. And more profuse than proseparate. Also I'm very much in favor of ducts (product), but I don't like senseless doting (antidote). And so on.]

Dean Blehert
Blogs: (short poems) (essays and longer poems)
New book (Deanotations, Volume 1) available at

Monday, April 27, 2009


[Back in town and online with a larger backlog than I'd have thought possible from a 3-day absence.]

La Brea Tar Pits: Full of mammoths,
saber-toothed tigers and other cherished
skulls and spines and of out-of-print species.

Please teach your children to survive
and to remember our poems so that
we don't have to write them all over again.

Gull wings ripple the sky,
bits of loose wave escaped
into the air.

Dean Blehert
Blogs: (short poems) (essays and longer poems)
New book (Deanotations, Volume 1) available at

Friday, April 24, 2009


Dear Readers,

I've been off e-mail for several days (a bug--just got it up and running). Now I'm about to leave (a short trip -- back late Sunday) and will be off e-mail for a few more days. So here are a bunch of make-up and make-up-in-advance poems:

On both sides of every war,
rabid enemies agree
about death.

[Note: We associate war with disagreement, but I'm always impressed with the massive agreement that goes into any war, each side ramping up, developing similar weapons and disciplines, ranks, hierarchies, propaganda, training. This is particularly obvious where two societies of radically different background come -- as enemies -- to mirror one another, as, for example, Japan mirrored the United States in World War II. It seems we have too much love for one another, using wars to drain off the excess.]

The leaves of a whole tree top
lift off...


Out for a walk--good way to write,
because there is such wealth
of grassblades, insect and bird chirops,
changing tree patterns, houses as neat
as pieces of candy for the eye in their
endless variety of flavors, all this
to fill me back up as I empty myself,
not by what I write, but by lasering
through layers of mental debris
in search of, not the words,
but the speaker, the hearer.

When I was a kid, we called the wretched old lady
on the corner a witch because she'd shoo us
off her lawn and call the cops about ouor "gang"
running across the yard over which she bent double
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: Yes, I was 50 when I wrote that poem. That was 17 years ago, time enough for another high school education.]

All my women agree
that I'm very good in

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 transluscence 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.

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

I am basically nothing at all,
which makes me very flexible.

How do you follow an act like

Dean Blehert
Blogs: (short poems) (essays and longer poems)
New book (Deanotations, Volume 1) available at

Friday, April 17, 2009

Give Us This Day Our Daily Poem

[Note: This time, three poems -- one for Friday, one for Saturday and one for Sunday -- won't have time to send poems out on Sat. and Sun.]

Some were paid in beauty,
some in strength, some in jewels.
I got poetry. Now that a billion poems
won't buy a loaf of bread,
I choke on poetry while others
starve on bread.

[Note: I liked that when I wrote it, but now I think maybe "I feast on poetry while others starve on bread" makes better sense -- though maybe a bit glib. Really what a poet chokes on is too much poetry he's been unable to give away/share/send off into the world. I'm eager to deal with empty nest syndrome. Often it seems to me "writer's block" has to do with all the attention the poet has attached to poems that have never been acknowledged, understood, admired, recognized. One of the great advantages of having appreciative readers is, that once I feel my poems (like kids with good jobs and families of their own) have rooted themselves in the culture, I can forget about them and have new things to say.]

On the horizon
bare trees
make distance famous.

Wake my life...please!

[Note: Some of you may not remember the line this is based on, the most famous gag of stand-up comedian Henny Youngman: "Take my wife...please!" (Yes, Henny, not Henry)]

Dean Blehert
Blogs: (short poems) (essays and longer poems)
New book (Deanotations, Volume 1) available at

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Silent (and possibly Deadly) Night

How is flatulence after eating cherries
like a crooner tripping on the stairs?

Both are Bings that go thoomp
in the night.

[Note: Yes, my children, long before Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young there was Bing Crosby, with his hundreds of golden records and even an Oscar for best actor (in "Going My Way" -- which kind of fits the poem) and the most popular recording of all time until beaten out by "Yesterday" -- "I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas". And, of course, there are bing cherries.]

Dean Blehert
Blogs: (short poems) (essays and longer poems)
New book (Deanotations, Volume 1) available at

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

City and Wilderness

[Two poems today (Weds), since I didn't send one out Tues.]

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

We drove 200 miles to a national park,
to a motel room with carpets and lamps
where we argued some more the same old
arguments. (But when we stop fighting,
we are in a redwood forest.)

[Note: It seems silly to go to a scenic place just to continue squabbling. But it's one thing to argue at home in rooms that are already thickly coated with our grimy arguments, another to continue an argument right up to the point where, pausing for breath (the next morning, perhaps), one looks up...and up...from the mossy floor to find a cathedral-vaulted world in which our tiny hostile noises are no more than the distant chatter of squirrels.]

Dean Blehert
Blogs: (short poems) (essays and longer poems)
New book (Deanotations, Volume 1) available at

Monday, April 13, 2009


If I could, with a thought,
destroy this planet,
I'd only do it once --
just to see.

[Note: Could be a super-villain talking -- or a curious little kid.]

Dean Blehert
Blogs: (short poems) (essays and longer poems)
New book (Deanotations, Volume 1) available at


Sunday, April 12, 2009


When my time comes to live,
give me a simple burial in plain flesh,
don't make a big fuss -- give me a name,
milk, trinkets to toy with. Don't
grieve long for me. I am not lost.
I go but to another kind of death.

[Note: For a few of you, this may be obscure. It posits the following: We are spiritual beings for whom flesh is at least as much an entrapment as means of enabling communications. Thus birth is a form of burial, and a spiritual being, about to take on a body, might consider this a kind of death.]

Dean Blehert
Blogs: (short poems) (essays and longer poems)
New book (Deanotations, Volume 1) available at

Friday, April 10, 2009


Each madman's epically mad:
His oddity is the ill he had.

[Note: For the pun-impaired (or those whose pun awareness is limited by their good taste), the two best known epics in Western literature are Homer's Odyssey and Iliad -- or "oddity" and "ill he had." As for the message: I suspect that the behavioral oddities we call madness have to do with the person being out of present time and stuck in past unpleasantness. He thinks everyone is out to destroy him? Then he's immersed in an actual incident when this was the case. (And maybe it's not so far from present time after all!)]

Dean Blehert
Blogs: (short poems) (essays and longer poems)
New book (Deanotations, Volume 1) available at


We are here to give. Even the beggar,
busy being a self-fueling belly,
can only give. He gives his street
an ugliness, a shadowed intricacy
that must be looked at or away from --

in either case requiring a decision
until habit digs a hole in my universe
and slips him into it before I can see him,
as I, too, become free of decision
and rich with shadowed intricacy.

[Note: The point of this poem is, of course, whatever you make of it, but for me it's not a criticism of the beggar for being an unpleasant presence. It's about the way those things we are unwilling to confront -- and unwilling to admire -- take root in our own universes, that is, in our lives, like weeds, and proliferate. Probably the beggar himself is the result of all the things the beggar could not/would not confront.

Similarly, as we blank out parts of the world (like homeless people with hands out), they become part of us, our world becoming increasingly vague and shadowy. This is not a plea to give alms to the poor. It's a suggestion that we not shut down our awareness of the world as a defense against it. I sometimes give the beggar something. Other times I don't. But I don't look away. After all, the guy is doing a terrific job of being a beggar. I can admire that. Also, just letting them be there, granting them the fact that they are there, that SOMEONE is there, has a positive effect. It reminds them that they are people too.]

Dean Blehert
Blogs: (short poems) (essays and longer poems)
New book (Deanotations, Volume 1) available at

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Finding You Again

In my dream, I died and was reborn,
not in the future, but in the past,
to be the same person all over again,
but with subtle variations--but not
too subtle to be first,

and even later, when I'd been persuaded
I was nowhere but where I was,
nor had ever been elsewhere, still
certain things didn't fit:

I met you in the wrong place
or at the wrong time or not at all,
and even when not at all,
I knew you were supposed to be,
were somewhere,

Dean Blehert
Blogs: (short poems) (essays and longer poems)
New book (Deanotations, Volume 1) available at

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Our Defenses

Booby-trapped, mined, burglar-alarmed, draw-bridged,
surrounded by alligator-infested moats,
invincible -- such a monstrous rightness
clicks on to defend us when we fear
betrayal. Save us, I pray,
from our machinery.

Dean Blehert
Blogs: (short poems) (essays and longer poems)
New book (Deanotations, Volume 1) available at

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


The waitress asks if I want anything else--
as if I wanted what I already had,
as if I could even remember
ever having wanted.

[Note: I probably wrote this after deciding, one day, to reward myself for having gotten nothing done by going out to dinner, then realizing, as I thought over restaurant choices, that I couldn't think of anything I really wanted to eat and that it was hard to remember when last I had really strongly wanted something. At such times, I become aware of the extent to which wants have become habits. One wants to make love because someone is there to make love with, and one is supposed to want that. One wants a piece of pie because one is supposed to want it. One enjoys it (often without paying attention to it, perhaps because one is reading the funnies because one is supposed to want to read them because they are supposed to be funny) without much tasting it.

The point is not that one should be greedy or starving, but that it's a sign of life to WANT what one wants, to have some fire in one's desires. There are those who argue that desire dooms us and that all our miseries are based on desire. Perhaps, but I'm not arguing that one should be the victim of desire or slave to one's desires. I'd distinguish between that and having the ability to CREATE desire, to decide to desire something and then really want it. In sports, the coach tries to get himself and his players to really want to win.

By the way, these days, when most of us out-live any physical attractiveness we may once have had, it's a priceless ability to be able to create desire for one another. Those who destroy their families by betraying their spouses and seeking nubile lovers don't know how to create and continue to create love and desire. They look for beautiful bodies to create it for them.

As I sat in that restaurant, I realized I was failing to create desire, substituting for it stale "supposed-to-be" desires. How many marriages go stale because husband and wife feed off these "supposed-to-be's" and fail to notice -- until it seems to be too late -- that there's no life there...because they haven't been creating any.]

Dean Blehert
Blogs: (short poems) (essays and longer poems)
New book (Deanotations, Volume 1) available at

Monday, April 6, 2009

The Loud Drunk

The loud drunk on the corner
thinks he's wise because of
all he's been through.

He'd be wise if he ever got through
what he's been through.

[Note: The wisdom of a victim generally consists of all the reasons why nothing could have been done about it, somehow a comforting thought. Some of the wise things I've learned from victims -- including my own vacations from creating my own dreams to spend a few days or years turning all that over to what everyone knows or to experts or to the weather -- include:

there's nothing that can be done about anything;

everyone's screwed up, so you can't trust anyone;

not only can't you always have what you want, but you always can't have what you want;

you can't fight city hall;

to hell with 'em all;

none of 'em ever understood me

and much much more!]

Dean Blehert
Blogs: (short poems) (essays and longer poems)
New book (Deanotations, Volume 1) available at

Sunday, April 5, 2009


Note: A slightly longer poem -- you get extra credit. But it's a very simple poem.] [Further note: I may have sent this out as a daily poem before a few years ago. It's one of my favorites. One of the things I like about it is that I find the violins and cellos of most poetry begin to bore me, so that I feel refreshed when I can produce a piece that is, more or less, a drum solo, pure percussiveness. Sometimes I prefer the music I find in raw, but energetic and positive, statement.]

On Resisting Evil

Because the evil have made the trains run on time,
we are wary of efficiency and accomplish nothing.

Because the evil have misused force,
we hesitate, hoping for miracles.

Because fools have thrown away their lives for madmen,
we imagine there is nothing worth dying for
and, dying anyway, live in fear.

Because the evil have created formidable organizations,
we dream of standing alone, swallowing that swindle
(dreamed up by the weak to subdue the strong)
that organization must be abhorred.

Because the evil seem driven by destructive purpose,
we are wishywashy, lost, as it were, in qualifications,
lest we be tainted by zeal.

Because the evil rely on solid stuffy citizens
(who can best be governed by fear of loss of status)
and call them sane,
we think we must be crazy to be creative,
so create only self-destruction.

Because madmen have equated love of our own country
with hatred of all other countries,
we try to love mankind by despising our country,
as if love of neighbors could grow
from hatred of self.

Nothing is left to us if we try to be good
only by being what evil is not,
nothing but evil itself,

which is, perhaps, a violent effort
not to be evil.

Note on Stanza 4, above: I say that the idea that organizations must be abhorred is a swindle dreamed up by the weak to subdue the strong because I think it can be shown (by someone with huge scholarly ambitions and a better grasp of historical detail than I command) that the idea that organization is a bad thing and that a real mensch stands alone has been used by those who fear strong and creative individuals -- used to neutralize them, so that groups of fearful people can isolate and control social mavericks, each of whom stand alone, despising organizational skills. Thus free beings are enslaved.

Part of the scam is to equate organization with criminal organizations and fanatic organizations. Another part of it is to equate organization with conformity to majority rule on all matters, to set up organization as the enemy of individualism.

It's true that when individuals decide to work together, they must do things to keep their differences from getting in their way, but this needn't mean a rejection of individualism. It simply means that they look for goals they share, and concentrate on them. It also means, sometimes, compromises, but in a sane group, the compromises pay off for the individual, meaning that the ability to live as a free individual is preserved and even expanded via the organization. In other words, one sacrifices a relatively small amount of individualism to enable the increased survival of individuals.

A strong group is made up of strong individuals. Such a group will always be able to handle a mob huddled together out of fear of standing alone. As has often been pointed out over the centuries, one twig snaps easily, but a bundle of twigs tied together is hard to snap. That's the byword of fascism (derived from a Latin word for such a bundle). And it's also a model for communist totalitarianism.

What's missing from that concept is that to destroy such a group, all you need to do is cut the string, then snap the twigs. A bunch of strong individuals working together (no strings attached!) is far more powerful. Each is capable of standing up to attack. Each has initiative. And, working together, they are far harder to break than the bundled twigs. Also, it's hard to break the "string," since it contains no compulsion exterior to each individual. It is each individual's intention.

A relatively small, but organized group of strong (spiritually strong -- people of character) people can control a huge mob. By "control," I don't mean that the small strong group aims at manipulating or tyrannizing masses of people. I mean, simply, that it is capable of control. If the mob is panicking, the small group can calm it. If the mob is breaking up into small groups bickering with each other, the small strong group can organize that mob into functionality or disperse it.

More to the point, just the small group's ABILITY to control gives that group a calming PRESENCE, an ethics presence. The mob feels this and responds to it. This isn't a hypnotic thing. Just as certain people (said to have a commanding presence or charisma) can walk into a room, and just by their being there, bring order into disorder, so an organized group of able people, just by their presence and their capabilities, bring order.

This is true of a strong individual, whose presence brings order, but when this presence is amplified by the united purpose of a group of individuals, each of whom, singly, is a leader, the capability is greatly increased. It's not that a group of, say, three such individuals has three times the power of one. It will have far more power than that, since the abilities of each resonate with the abilities of the others. A group of weak individuals tends to reduce the power of the group (the ability to bring order) to the lowest common denominator of the group. A group of strong individuals brings an amplification of power that is something like the square or cube of the number of individuals (say, 3 people, 9 or 27 times the power).

(An interesting study of both sorts of groups: The Beatles. Four musicians, at least three of them, John, Paul and George, brilliant song-writers and performers. (Ringo has his own brilliance,but song-writing isn't a big part of it. But he was part of the creative ambiance of the group.) When they were able to work together, in the early years, they strengthened each other, their brilliance as individuals amplified by the association.

As they got increasingly into drugs, formulaic social outrage and other distractions, while they increased in musical sophistication, some magic drained gradually from their work, and they began to feel oppressed by one another, limited by being Beatles. What they did, each on his own, is still remarkable music, but (to my ear, anyway) far less magical than what they were able to do as a group.

It's not that each produced music one quarter as powerful. Far less than that. George, perhaps, gained a bit, since he'd been overshadowed, in the group, by the brilliance and dominance of Paul and John. And each of them produced a few songs that are of top-grade Beatles quality. But something priceless was lost. One of the great post-Beatles Beatles song, George Harrison's "When We Was Fab" (on the Cloud Nine album) says all this better than I can. [The Fab ran out on the Tide?] [That's a joke, for those who don't know that Fab, as well as Tide, is a detergent.]

Of course, tastes differ. It never ceases to amaze me that so many people think Lennon's maudlin "Imagine" is a great and profound song. It has it's brilliance, if you can stomach a secular humanist manifesto and glaringly false innocence, but "She Loves You, Yeah Yeah Yeah," for all its hints of adolescent zits and apparent simplicity, is a far greater and far more profound piece of music. Of course, sometimes Lennon tries for profound and achieves it (e.g., "Strawberry Fields,") but that's still a Beatles song, giving him the scope to stand apart from his ideas and view and turn into music his own thought processes ("That is, I think I disagree" -- the musical equivalent of hair-splitting Talmudic reasoning and indecision), whereas, post-Beatles, he became a relatively shallow, programatic dogmatist -- until his last album, where his playfulness and warmth emerged again.

(Note: I say "relatively." He could still think, change his mind, etc. But I think he let Yoko create the space wherein he worked, and it was a relatively airless space, claustrophobic, compared to the ecstatic back-and-forth riffing between Paul and John that yielded in one legendary weekend (approximately) some nine songs that eventually hit number one on the charts (something like that -- someone will correct me, but the number was stratospheric). They needed songs, quick, for their first movie, "Hard Day's Night," so in that weekend, they produced nine great songs -- so many that two of them (both later huge hits) couldn't be fitted into the movie.

["Hard Day's Night," "Ticket to Rye," "Can't Buy Me Love," "I should have known better," "Eight Days A Week," etc.]

That surge of creative energy is with us today, not only in their songs, but in many other offshoots. For example, Keith Richards and Mick Jaggers, watching how easily John and Paul were conjuring new songs into existence, decided maybe they could do it too, and that began their song-writing.

McCartney's most recent album (Memory Half Full -- or is it Memory Half Empty? -- no joke intended, I keep forgetting which it is!) has one song that seems to me comparable in power and depth to Eleanor Rigby. It's called "Mr. Bellamy." As far as I know, it hasn't gotten much notice. But then these days McCartney tends to get dismissed by the hip as a writer of slightly saccharine songs. He ain't the Beatles, but he's what's left of the song-writing Beatles, not one quarter of a Beatle, a much smaller fraction (as were John and George, separately)-- but even a 20th of the Beatles is still better than anything else around. Check him out!)

Among those less capable, always there are a few who fear capability in others and encourage others to fear this too. These are people who, if they could control others, would oppress them, keep them down, so they fear the strong, assuming that others, given power, would do to them what they would do to others.

[Some people must have feared the Beatles....]

Thus, always, there are those who stir the weak to keep the strong down. And one of the weapons of such people is to put the idea of "organization" into opposition with the idea of "the strong individual." This is a false opposition. Beware of those who praise you for standing alone and refusing to be part of any group. It's true that schools overstress "Works well with others" and that society too often punishes originality and stifles initiative. It's also true that those who would overcome such obstacles had best be organized themselves. It's a matter of working out what your goals are, then finding others whose goals align with your own. It's a matter of knowing who your friends are. It's a matter of being able to evaluate the intentions and activities of others and then make decisions.

Some of these points are based on the "ethics conditions" (see -- particularly the steps required to resolve the conditions of treason, enemy, doubt and liability.)

One last note: In my opinionated discussion of the Beatles, above, I don't mean to condemn Yoko Ono. I wasn't there. When I say she created a relatively airless space for John, I mean relative to the bigger-than-planet-earth space in which John, Paul, George and Ringo were working together. As far as I can tell, Yoko was NOT operating at their level. She was/is an artist. The Beatles were among the greatest artists of the Twentieth Century. She wasn't and isn't of comparable magnitude as an artist. (If she is, I haven't seen the work, and the stuff she did with John is his weakest.)

Her own art -- for example, her movie of a bunch of naked human buttocks -- is trendy and shallow. It might appeal to a pop singer, if enough artsy people -- in Yoko's avant garde circle? -- have convinced him that his "Beatles" work is insignificant and doesn't confront the important issues and abuses of our time.) He seems to have limited himself to her, unwilling to be other than contained in her space, wanting, always, that sort of security -- not to go Freudian on you, but listen to the poignancy of the song addressing the mother who deserted him (Julia) on the White Album.

Nobody, certainly not Yoko, brought Lennon down -- no one but Lennon, addicted to drugs for many of those years with Yoko -- and she helped him get OFF those drugs, enabling him to write his last album, which is a vast improvement over the Imagine album and the others (miserable stuff, mostly -- especially Two Virgins) with Yoko. But Yoko helped him to move on.

The words were "All We Are Saying Is Give Peace A Chance" (or rather "Our Chants"), but the melody and mood of those lines (so lugubrious and hypnotic) seems to me to be saying "Someone shoot me, PLEASE!" Lennon killed Lennon long before anyone could shoot him. He was starting to come back to life when he really got shot. That's the usual way of it with people mistaken by others for saviors or arch-villains or both. The awful Tsar gets assassinated, not when he's most oppressive, but when he starts to liberalize, frees the serfs. When you start to put in order in an area, a lot of suppressed confusion is likely blow up in your face and overwhelm you. Lennon's physical death was part of his spiritual revival, which I suspect continued, since I don't believe we are mortal, though our names and bodies are changed to protect the ignorant -- I mean innocent.

Yoko's probably OK. In fact, Yoko spelled backwards is "OK -- Oy!" She was a gun John used to shoot himself. Guns don't kill people. People with guns kill people. Actually, John used Yoko to kill a Beatle. He decided he needed to kill off Beatle John, a role that he felt had constricted him. Actually that role expanded him. The drugs had shrunk him to a point where he felt lost in that huge role. He was no longer up to taking responsibility for hundreds of millions of people on planet earth via aesthetics. The four of them, working together, had done that for years, effortlessly, it seemed. Hundreds of millions of people became happier, more hopeful, younger, more alive listening to them, watching them. And many of us, still, can reawaken that joy by thinking of their music or re-hearing it.

To be on a planet where people have created such work is a marvelous thing, like looking at a tree and watching how its branches twist and spread (the moon caught in them) and realizing one shares a world with such beauty.

You can yell at people "Peace! Freedom! Love!" or you can love them enough to put them in touch with their own joy, their own creativity, as simply as that tree does it for me. The Beatles did the latter. Post-Beatles, Lennon yelled "Peace!" George got kind of holy and sermony(though he often transcended that). And McCartney? Glib, I guess. He made an effort to be a Beatle on his own, and one can usually feel the effort. No, glib is a bum rap. He kept doing what he'd done as a Beatle (and a few other things), but some of the joy went out of him, and mainly, the magic that he and John had together wasn't quite there. I think George and John (especially John) tended to repudiate whatever they thought "Beatles" stood for, while Paul tried to keep it going. But years of pot attenuate the ability to feel. One has to force it a bit. Hence the endless songs that riff on and on, seeking an adequate closure (the overrated "Hey, Jude" is an early example).

Poor Paul, going on going on, producing fine music, but having to live in the shadow (hanging over him) of the Beatles (of yesterday), who happen to include Paul. Poor fellow, he's only half the great he used to be. But while he sings, the Beat and the Beatles goes on. Better Beatles then beatless.

Dean Blehert
Blogs: (short poems) (essays and longer poems)
New book (Deanotations, Volume 1) available at