March 29, 2014 Leave a comment

A time of endings and beginnings.  microwave_tree

Monday is the deadline for entering the Eye On Life Poetry Contest, offering $150 in prizes.  As it stands right now there are five poets entered, so odds are great for all of them.  If you were to enter right now you would have approximately a 1 in 6 chance of winning the $100 first prize.   Of course there are usually a few last minute entries, so in the end the odds may not be quite as spectacular as they are now, but I’m sure they will remain quite good given the low turnout this year.  This will be the last Eye On Life Poetry Contest, ever.

In music, Monday is the end of one phase and the beginning of another.  Today I will rehearse with what is ostensibly (or perhaps potentially) my band that will play music that I have written.   Today it will be decided which tunes we will record.   On Monday night we will meet at the studio and make recordings, ending the first phase of this project.    In the second phase of this project, the studio will provide me with sound files that I will use to market ‘my band’ to some local clubs.  The last phase of the project will conclude when we perform my music live in front of an audience.   I’ll let you know how it goes with all that.

In the mean time the resurrection of the Klezmer band, “Too Close For Klez”, is well underway.  Last night I played with members of TCFK at a local middle school fundraiser for their music department.  It was a lot of fun.   We have a gig coming up later in May.

In other news I wrote this recipe for our favorite vegetable stew, complete with a video of me for comic relief.

The Conspiring Universe

winter_fruit_treesRecently it has been a time when the swirling influences have gelled in marvelous kaleidoscopic momentary formations.   At other times it has seemed as if I were wearing a trench in the Earth with the sameness of my days, and while there remains an element of that, doors have opened and I have opportunities to pass through them into new and exciting spaces.  So it has passed that my companions, Desire and Despair, have at times been at odds, but as through time I have come to know them well I can greet each with equanimity and detachment for the most part; and being aware of those times that I succumb, I can afford to be amused at my inner stories rather than tortured by them.  As I have said before, I am a very lucky man.

From the vantage of detachment I can look upon the boiling pot of influences and be grateful for all of its patterns – both those I would have chosen for myself and those that I would not.  I can see, also, both the effects of my careful stirring of the pot and of my leaving it be.   I have found (and am advised) that leaving it be is usually best.

So it seems that in my immediate future I will record my own music with fine musicians and have multiple opportunities to play R & B, Klezmer and jazz; in my intermediate future I will perhaps have an opportunity to perform my music in public, and I will be traveling to a distant land with my lovely wife;  and in my later future I have no doubt that many delightful surprises await.  There is some other stuff going on, but I think I have touched on the highlights.  Now we’ll see how it all unfolds.

At Eye On Life the Poetry Contest is off to a slow start with only two poets so far competing for the over $150 in prizes.  If this keeps up one of them will have to win two of the prizes.  That won’t do.  Be sure to enter right away so you don’t have to worry about the March 31 deadline.   At The Poetry Locksmith, Donal Mahoney has continued to bless us with his prolific work and Samuel Vargo has returned with more of his eclectic and thought-provoking verse.

I wrote a couple of articles for newbies to door hardware – “Door Handing for Hardware Dummies” and “How to Order Hardware for Small Commercial Projects” – and a poem.  Also I am working on a how-to article about what to do when your lock explodes, video included.  It should be fun.  I did the video already.   I’ll let you know when it’s up ;)

Waiting Is

February 13, 2014 Leave a comment

wet_snow_treeA little quote from the Stranger.  I can relate.  This is indeed a strange land.

I trust in the Creative.  Forces are converging and I am instructed to observe and accept, and to tread lightly with compassion, equanimity, grace and modesty.  So I quietly invite success.

My cloud of sound may sport new tracks soon.  Actually I have at least one new track on there now called “Rescue.”  That piece is part of a sonata that I hope to perform someday.  I’ll try to get the entire sonata up on online sometime.

I have an opportunity coming up to record a few of my pieces with some very good players that I am bringing together for the purpose.  I have played with all of them in different venues and capacities, but some of them have never played together.  I am eager to see the result.   I expect my work will be transformed to some extent and I am looking forward to how their influences unfold the music.

Although I have been concentrating on my music I have also been writing a bit.  I wrote a piece for facilities and property managers about how to order door hardware for small commercial projects if you know absolutely nothing about door hardware, and otherwise I have been bouncing ideas around.  It seems I have so little time now to write at the moment, but as this existence is structured, as they say, ‘this, too, shall pass.’

Over at Eye On Life, Donal Mahoney’s prolific streak continues with only minor breaks.  Recently we had a lovely bouquet of haiku from Diane Webster and more eclectic work from Erren Geraud Kelly.   So stop by and make time to enjoy the poetry for a few minutes.  It can only do you good.

Also the Eye On Life Annual Poetry Contest is open for submissions through March, 2014.

Eye On Life Annual Poetry Contest 2014

January 11, 2014 Leave a comment

philadelphia004Yes, we are doing the EOL Annual Poetry Contest again, though we got a bit of a late start this year.  Once again we will be offering:

  • First prize, $100
  • Second prize, $50
  • Third prize, a book of poetry

Winners (and honorable mentions) will be published in the Poetry Locksmith feature at EOL.

In other news I had an absolutely wonderful time playing with the Temple Ohabei Shalom Shabbos band on Friday night, January 10, celebrating Shabbat Shira, the Shabbat of Song, with guest artist Jonathan Gramling.  I love it when the musical and the spiritual mix so well.

Also it was an opportunity to play claves as well as trombone, and even sing a little.

Not So Dead

January 7, 2014 Leave a comment

snow_commute 010

People speak of ‘the dead of winter.’  I suppose by this they mean the middle of winter, when the colors of fall have all been ‘whited out’ and the new greens of spring seem oh so far away.  Yet the winter is full of life.  In the woods there are chickadees looking for a handout, woodpeckers jackhammering for bugs and mice hopping short distances through the snow, on the lookout for weasels dressed in their white winter coats or red foxes wearing their usual fine attire.  Other life sleeps underground:  skunks, ants, fish, and others who hibernate the frozen months away.   We observe those earthbound who remain awake through winter by their tracks that the snow makes so plain to see.

I don’t know anyone who hibernates, do you?  I imagine that it is not beyond our capability.  There are many of us who can control our heart rate and respiration.  But no one actually does it, as far as I have heard.  Some of us migrate, like the songbirds, south to where it is relatively warm all season.  The rest of us dress in layers of clothing to keep ourselves warm outdoors and burn mostly fossil fuels to keep us warm indoors.  Sometimes I wonder how long we can keep that up.

But I don’t have to wonder about some things.  For example, I know I wrote a couple articles on hardware at Door Hardware Genius; I know that I wrote a song called ‘Crazy as Me’; and I know that I published several poems as editor of The Poetry Locksmith feature at Eye On Life Magazine.

Speaking of Eye On Life Online Magazine, the poetry contest will open for submissions on January 10th and will close on March 30th.  Winners will be announced in April which is, coincidentally, Poetry Month here in the United States.  I think that will work out well.

Legacy of Trees

December 23, 2013 Leave a comment

round_pond01Walking in the forest

Like a fish swimming

In vast sea of interconnectedness

A Mother’s love

Permeates brand new air

Manufactured for my breathing pleasure

While I slept

Trees have fluidity of gender

Determined by circumstances

Assuming their role as needed

This reminds me

To speak with deference

And humility

To a tree

As a seed you are planted

By luck or design

Bird, squirrel

Or occasional person

In the fecund womb of Earth

Spring sprouts

A twig with a couple of leaves

Dainty lattice of roots

Tenuously clinging

To Mother

You grow

Slender but resilient

Shedding heavy snow

Flexed by wind

And continue to grow

Shedding your lower branches

Lightening your load

As you race toward the sun

Lanky and tall

The sun peeks

Over your shoulder

Down at me

While beneath my feet

Your roots spread

Interlaced with

All your siblings

Children and cousins

The ultimate extended


If you don’t survive

Life might end by surprise

Despite your strength and size

But even if you do survive

You will be caught by time

In its fullness

Eventually you will fall

And sleep like a log

Or stand like a pole

A home for birds

Small animals

And woodpecker food

Your life ends as all life ends

Substance spread

To other life

Ultimately re-absorbed

By your Mother

Here where her flesh is black

With the rich legacy

Of trees

Former Trees

October 4, 2013 Leave a comment

skidderChange is life; life is change.  Embrace life.

Sometimes this is a philosophy of peace and sometimes it is a philosophy of conflict because some change just feels wrong.

Former Trees

Comes to an end one day
As I see instead of trees
Empty air

A few branches strewn
On torn earth

There the machine
Parked on the gravel
Tree cutter, skidder, stump puller
All in one
Invention of a human
Thinking only
Of efficiency

But no judgement
Only acceptance
Embrace change
Remember the tearing
Of your heart
Lets the Eternal in

Yet today
What can I say
As this beautiful pair
Who captured my imagination last year
Lay there

I can say only
Now the door to my heart
Is torn open
So more of the Eternal
Can come inside

And that
I owe a debt
To these
Former trees




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