Friday, August 22, 2014

The 300

I finish reading a novel about once a month, according to my entries on Goodreads. That might seem light, but it's about as much as my current day-to-day routine can handle.

That got me thinking; If I extrapolate a book per month over the next 25 years -- at which time I'd be at retirement age -- that would come out to about 300 books. So I'll use that as a ballpark figure, 300, to say how much reading I have left in the tank.

Of course I'll have read tons more than that! But I like the number. It's very SPARTA! Thinking of it in finite terms helps romanticize what I want from future reading. Helps give it an agenda. It has to be top-notch -- new classics in contemporary lit, the canon I've yet to read, an occasional reread, and, of course the flat-out-fun reads. 

When I grow up, I want to be able to talk books, writers, good prose, and, yes, good literary criticism.

Here's the first batch of The 300:  

Of Mice & Men, Steinbeck
Moon Palace, Paul Auster
The Old Man and the Sea, Hemingway
The Things They Carried, Tim O'Brien
Ask The Dust, John Fante 
Chronicles of a Death Foretold, Gabriel Garcia Marquez
The Fall, Albert Camus 

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Fog Meridian

1:15 in the afternoon
wisps of fog spill over
Sutro and Twin Peaks
bearing northeast down
Market Street flooding sidewalk
Indio stands selling
woolen cable knits in August

gusts of scrap-paper
blow past mid-westerners
caught in short-pants and hasty
long-sleeve drug-store fleece
pulled over hands,
collars pulled over ears

my City --

we'd yet made promises
all those years ago
under that bright
late-morning September sun,
standing atop Alamo Square
gazing eastward at rows
of Victorians pretty
as lace edging on cityscape
skyscrapers bleached white-gold
as ribbons of windows
glistened like inlaid marcasite stones

your warmth on my shoulders

it was all so easy to kid ourselves

that we could pay the shroud 
approaching from out west

its mist
its winds

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Hustle & Flow

a lone sea bird
before dawn
keeps time
with trains 
above West Oakland 
sidewalks awash 
with gold grass
on thistle,
painted ladies
against purple
darkness of Tilden,
of Sibley, 
of Redwood's 
rolling crests --

while on headphones,
Chinese Ehru notes glide
above sea swell 
sounds from violins

our flights
at such
great heights --

before the train snakes
down its bay-floor tunnel,
before ears go pop
from changes in pressure
and the screams of steel
wheels on rail,
before the bustling stops
at Embarcadero,
at Montgomery,
before the song-change
to some 50-Cent hustle
and the swagger anthems
of Barbary pirates

the truth is,
i am one of them,
awake at 5 a.m.
the early bird
is all business,
all hustle for flow

i don't know what 
you heard about me

while on headphones
Chinese Ehru notes glide
above sea swell
sounds from violins