”He who dies and forgets today, dies to live some other way.”
Emily Dickinson, 1830-1886
Poem #260 from her catalog of works . . .
I’m Nobody! Who are you?
Are you – Nobody – too?
Then there’s a pair of us!
Don’t tell! they’d advertise – you know!
How dreary – to be – Somebody!
How public – like a Frog –
To tell one’s name – the livelong June –
To an admiring Bog!
Once upon a time I had a teacher in a poetry class named Ruth Slonim. She was fond of quoting Emily Dickinson and every once in a while snippets of these poems pop into my head. Some I have even burned into my brain years later. But this is an example of someone who effected my life in such a way that I didn’t even realize it fully at the time. The old song goes “you never know what you got until it is gone.” She died in 2005.
I later learned that during her life, she was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in poetry. Just to be nominated means she effected a lot more people than just me. She had, and still has relevance in this world. She is still effecting in her own quiet way.
The last time I remember meeting her was on a side-walk maybe 20 years after she taught me in class. She remembered me from that class, and said she had been hearing good things about my work. I mostly feel I have dwelled in hiding all my life, so when these little bumps come along, they make me reevaluate what I really am, what I think I have and have not done with my life. And things like “How dreary to be somebody . . . ” pop into my head.
The frog tune that was posted on this blog a little time back in reference to the Donald Trump horror, must come from this poem, and Ruth Slonim. “An admiring Bog” is a danger that Donald Trump never had a teacher burn into his brain as a warning. It is really a shame that the humanities of a well-rounded education never sank in for Mr. Trump. It is people like Ruth Slonim that I have to thank for adding this little angel on my shoulder, or is it a demon? Whatever it is, it is one of those lessons that never really gets over.
I am a poet, but I also have a straight time job. The other day on the route, while I was picking up the garbage the world of education makes, a voice popped up in my head: ‘Donnie Jingo!’
It resonated with the tune of an old western movie song “Johnny Ringo!”
It immediately mutated into the tune from the James Bond film “Goldfinger”.
By the time I reached the office I had made it this far in the lyrics:
Donnie Jingo! A man with a coward’s lusts, he is a putz.
Such a bold dingo, slavering and sniveling to get in . . .
I looked up on the web the words to the song and came up with Shirley Bassey’s lyrics.
From there it went nowhere, but it would make a great protest song for the “Resistance” to the Trump regime.
So this is another plea to those musicians out there. Take these words and finish this song. Make it a top 40 hit and drive the establishment mad. Please!
This is a gift to any musician out there who wants our current Toad-in-Chief out of office. I don’t know if the words work, but if you feel like putting them to music, tinkering them into something that does work and can fight back against the current kleptocrats sucking the fun out of the world. Go for it! Make a hit and drive them into the ground. (All I want is a word credit and some peace of mind) Thanks!
Vainglorious toad croaking in the swamp,
“This is not a stinking swamp,
now that I am here.
The other toads are sing lies,
the other toads you hear.
This is not a swamp no more,
now that I am here!
Am I not the royal toad?
The bestist toad you hear,
the other toads are lying Lord!
Now that I am here.”
And closer does the serpent slink,
the loudest toad it hears.
It knows it lives in slimy swamp,
and croaking toads are near.
This is an art project from several years ago. What is left of it leaps at Fiddlers Ridge Farm near Potlatch. The cobalt blue glass bottle is a fun medium to play with.
This is one of a series of on-going recycling art projects. Many of them are studies in the psychology of apophenia and pareidolia. In many ways, this is an extension of the concept of anthropomorphism in literature. All three of these are a reflection of human consciousness and how it sees the world around it. I also like to call my projects dysfunctional art. They are objects that have been removed from their function and have become something other.