Monday, October 31, 2005

Desert Moon Review Reading, Saturday, October 29

Just returned from Philadelphia where I spent time at Robin's Bookstore, 13th and Samsom Streets, as master of ceremonies at the first get-together of poets from Desert Moon Review, where I am editor. Follow the link through the title to our website.

A report of our great weekend... In all, a fabulous weekend enjoyed by all!

Most of us were staying at the Alexander Inn described as a "boutique bed and breakfast" at Spruce and 12th Street. It turned out to be a nice place run by a gay Belgian guy and his friend. The staff were polite and efficient. Price a bit on the pricy side but worth it for the convenience and the bonhomie of having everyone together.

I just stayed the one night, Sat. night although Jim Corner, founder, publisher and owner of Desert Moon Review, stayed Friday and Saturday nights. They even printed calling cards for him "James D. Corner, in residence at the Alexander Inn..." I didn't get those maybe because I only stayed one night! Jim is a retired pastor who lives in Arizona.

I found Jim in the breakfast room when I arrived and so we shared breakfast and chatted for an hour or so. Then as people came and went I recognized Laurie Byro and her husband. Laurie and Mike wanted to go the Museum of Art to see the Edvard Munch exhibition. He's the Norwegian artist who painted "The Scream" which was recently stolen. Laurie wanted to see his painting "The Mermaid" and it was impressive, supported by similar studies he had done. Also great to see the Impressionists in adjoining rooms.

We lunched at the Art Museum and got back to the Inn in time to meet Guy Kettelhack and Sarah Sloat. Guy took us over to the bookstore after walking at first in the wrong direction.... we figured it out, the streets are a bit confusing so I could have easily made the same mistake. Checked out the upstairs space for the reading. There was a black history guy talking about his book when we looked in.

Then back to the hotel to chill out until 6:00 pm and then to walk over to the bookstore. Met Al Ferber, Philly native and Mike Byro enjoying cigarettes on the sidewalk outside the store. Al was there with his wife Cathi, his cousin from Maryland, and husband occupying the front row.

Started the reading dead on 7:00 pm. Jim Corner had suggested reading in a round robin manner but I didn't see how that could conveniently work with people going on and offstage in the time allowable, so we read in alphabetical order. I introduced each reader and allowed each of the eight readers seven and a half minutes each which allowed for around five or so poems each. A great variety of poems and styles of poetry and the reading was great, lots of laughs and beautiful imagery. Impressive!

We actually finished at 7:55 pm so I invited everyone to read one more poem so we did have the round robin reading Jim had called for. Scott Summers who came up last did not have a poem but spoke to how DMR had helped him grow as a poet. Laurie Byro asked him to read again his first poem.

We went to the Sansom Street Oyster House for a meal... Al Ferber and gang didn't come with us, Al and wife had to go to their shore house to close up for the winter.

Had drinks and a great meal at the Oyster House, though I had to send instructions to the bar on how to make a double Harvey Wallbanger straight up... a screwdriver with galliano. When it came there was no OJ so I sent it back to be added. Long and cool it turned out great.

I had lobster bisque and an entree of broiled scallops. Fine conversation about literature and how we had all enjoyed the evening. Said goodbye to Sarah and her sister on the sidewalk outside and the rest of us went back to the Alexander Inn. All in all a fine and satisfying time! We plan another get together/reading perhaps in the West, hopefully next year. Stay tuned for news of that.


Lingua Frank O'

Standing in the Sunday morning October cold air
for the red and white Capital cab to whisk me
back to 30th Street Station, I study the Flemish
bond of the turn-of-the-century boutique B and B,
carved brownstown quoins, ornate window filigree.

I recall how yesterday it was HQ for Desert Moon,
--though Spanish-French fills the breakfast room
where yestermorn Jim Corner and I kibbutzed,
went with Laurie & Mike to the Philly Art Museum
with its Rocky steps, an eyeful of Edvard Munch.

How Guy, the expert, guided us the wrong way
to the bookshop on the Philly streets till we figured
the right way. At a deli, I bought bottled water
and we settled into Mr. Robin's bookstore loft,
timed the reading to perfection, 60 min. exactly.

So many styles of expression! Eight poets,
eight different voices! Mitchell's mauve poems,
his sonnets, villanelles, Jim's Palo Verde verse,
Scott's Civil War pieces, Al's Philly humor,
Sarah on what it's like to live in Germany,

Laurie and I read from The Poets Gone Wild
anthology... Guy on living in Greenwich Village.
He's Frank O'Hara reborn, but more formal
than Frank, people said I'm more like O'Hara:
Did this, did that; made Philly Lingua Frank O'.

Christopher T. George

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Moon Follow Me Down

I travel south on the Marc train
in the Tuesday morning darkness;
a nearly full moon moves with me
over the treeline as we speed to D.C.

Later, I stroll through the Smithsonian gardens,
sniff the lone white bloom on the gardenia bush.
I walk down Independence Avenue where mirrored
moons of CCTV cameras monitor my way to work.

Christopher T. George

I have written a blog entry for Barbara Ostrander for Desert Moon recording the fact of her passing and how it has hit our community, and including one of Barb's poems about her relationship with Africa ("Africa Unleashed"). What Barbara was about and what I am about is partly reflected in the following poem.

On one of her trips to Bethesda for treatment, Barbara was able to attend a history lecture I gave near Annapolis, which resulted in the following poem of mine written as part of Gary Blankenship's hyperpoem series, utilizing a line from Eliot's "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" ("Time for you and time for me")--

Annapolis Harbor at Christmas

To Barbara

Somehow we find the time after your day
at the clinic, my workday, after we fought
traffic in the Maryland rain to make it late
to my evening lecture, the spaghetti supper.
Somehow, we find time as snow sifts down:
Time for you and time for me.

The snow melts on the water
and on the bronze statue of Alex Haley
as he reads to the bronze children,
to tell how Kunta Kinte landed here
all those generations ago as a slave
aboard the Lord Ligonier.

And you want badly to see the sea.
Well, this isn't the sea exactly, an arm
of the Chesapeake Bay. Yet, I feel
we're walking barefoot on a beach,
in sand dunes, among scraggy grass
at the ocean, in Maryland, in Africa.

Christopher T. George

Friday, September 16, 2005

Icky the Firebobby . . . and My Songwriting



Icky the Fire Bobby

In the land of thingamabob and wotsit,
Icky was my bogeyman, the specter
who'd grab me if I didn't get to bed,
if I didn't eat my peas or mashed spuds.

He haunted pantry, clothes cupboard,
made plans in the dark to terrify,
a mean older brother, a hairy policeman
with hatchet and tall bobby's helmet.

I trembled in bed waiting for his bullseye
lantern to single me out, to haul me off
to the coal bunker for punishment with all
the other bad, sobbing little buggers.

Christopher T. George

This was the weekend on which the musical by Erik Sitbon and myself, "Jack--The Musical" was going to be presented in Charlotte, North Carolina, but unfortunately plans fell through for the weekend. Still, have to plug on. Erik has just returned from Deauville where he said he performed before a crowd of 15,000 our song, "Gotta to Make the Right Move." We will get there slowly and surely. . .



Erik in Deauville, Entertaining the Masses

P.S. You can see a video of one of our songs, "June," by hitting the link through the title to this post above.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Closing Time at Union Station

After a hard day's edit, I discover
the Thunder Grill closing, an agitated
bartender who, praise the Lord, concocts
me a double Harvey Wallbanger. . . but

there's no chili to be had, chef packed up.
Minutes later, I sit on a rose marble plinth,
waiting for the 10:40 pm to whisk me away,
survey the inlaid marble, echoing expanse.

The rattan chairs of the Center Café stack
promiscuously three on a tier. At Ka Bloom,
a man walks the pink roses and purple irises
into a walk-in cooler; automatic doors open, close;
he settles the flowers in their bright steel containers.

Christopher T. George

Well, Sallye is not happy with me because the unit of edited manuscripts should have mailed last week, ideally. But I did have some formatting and other issues to contend with from the authors so it wasn't all smooth sailing. Anyway, today, Tuesday, I have a doctor's appointment in the morning and can relax some at home. Also I think Donna is putting us in for pedicures after I pick her up from work this afternoon, for which see--

The Gods Are Dancing

on the wall in gold frames,
and Donna and I undergo pedicures,
tended by Vietnamese dames
while Watkins Glen plays overhead,

the TV blaring in blue and red,
Busch beer, STP, and Red Bull;
a race driver's interviewed in a lull,
TV turns his face orange, his shades blue.

Scent of aloe, pink Jergens massage,
my feet are done. Donna, how about you?

Christopher T. George

Friday, August 26, 2005

Barbara Ostrander




I have been knocked sideways by the sad news of the passing of my friend poet Barbara Ostrander which occurred at her home in Lexington, Kentucky, peacefully, on the afternoon of Friday, August 12. Barbara was age 49. I along with a number of other internet poets were concerned that we had not heard from her for some time. I had known that her cancer prognosis had worsened at the end of last year, and that the regimens she had been under were not working. I had tried to e-mail Barbara on a number of occasions over the past several months. I finally found an e-mail address for her husband Kent Ostrander this past Tuesday and contacted him. Kent gave me the sad news that Barb had died eleven days earlier.

I had the privilege of knowing Barbara from the fall of 2003 onward after I met her through Merseyside performance poet Jim Bennett's Poetry Kit e-mail list, having first come in contact with Jim around the time of my visit to Merseyside in August 2003 for the Jack the Ripper convention at the Liverpool Britannia Adelphi Hotel. I began to learn what an incredible person she was through the featured poet pages for Barbara on the PK website.

Learning that Barbara was coming to Bethesda outside of Washington, D.C., where I work, in order to come for cancer treatment at the National Institutes of Health, I arranged to meet her. It turned out that we met in the aftermath of the remains of Hurricane Isabel raging through Washington and Maryland on Saturday, September 20, I braved signal outages on Georgetown Pike to get to her hotel... though Barbara, pioneer and world traveller that she was, wanted to know what all the fuss was about. A couple of my poems below refer to the evening.

Follow the link through the title above for a website dedicated to Barbara that has been set up by Charlene Dewbre.



Transfusion

To Barbara

I. Intaglio

A fire inside the stone,
an image engraved in a dark gem.
You're an ICU nurse; on your arm,
you wear a picc, a plastic lizard.

We meet in the lobby of the Sheraton,
my Kentucky woman in black, in dark glasses,
in Bethesda to receive your cancer treatment.

You've climbed Kilimanjaro twice,
shot your own zebra,
whose hide hangs on your wall,
cared for Rwandan war victims.
You tell me how you broke
protocol to whisper to the dying
woman whose family had been herded
from the room, to tell her God loved her.

You, the Kenyan white girl, tell me
about your trip to India and Nepal.


II. India

You bathe the four-year-old boy with scabies
in the city they call "The Armpit of India,"
his head an open sore of green pus,
a battlefield for the microscopic mite.

Scabies everywhere on the orphans:
buttocks, fingers, ears, legs.
The feast of Dasain, everything
closed, even the pharmacy,

so you and Mary Ellen rummage
for cotton bales, an antipyuretic
for their fevers, calamine lotion
for their itching.

You drag the infected mattresses
from the orphanage, set them on fire.
Sparks drift like spirits to the stars.


III. Transfusion

Barbara, I can't stop the tumor growing in your lung
and neither can the new chemo the Feds tried.
I'm grateful that instead of flying home,
you stay to attend my lecture.
They've removed the picc from your arm; you rejoice
at the prospect of a shower, your first since February.

Now, next morning, I slosh through still-dark Baltimore
as you get ready to take your flight back to Kentucky.
As I think about you, I almost miss my turn
at Poe's marble grave to head to Washington,
the line of rear lights ahead,
red corpuscles flowing
into the nation's body politic.

Christopher T. George


-- The preceding poem appears in the Poets Gone Wild anthology just published.



Traveller - For Barbara

You were the voyager, going
where I could not go, passport
stamped with tumors and chemo doses.

You spoke of your fellow patients,
how you shared the rollercoaster
of hope renewed and hope lost.

You and I shared a hurricane's aftermath,
when powercuts blacked out Bethesda,
ate in the Mongolian grill, where

you told me of climbing Kilimanjaro.
But now you journey farther:
footsteps in the snow, solo.

Christopher T. George

**************************


Sunburst

The sun bursts from behind clouds piled
high above the National Postal Museum,
and I watch a pigeon strut between
scurrying commuters at Union Station.

I wonder at this God who could
take you from us at so young
an age -- only 49. I know you'd say
it was all meant to be: you went
from your husband's arms
to God's.

Christopher T. George

The ending lines of this poem came from what Barbara's husband Kent wrote to me in his e-mail of August 23 telling me of her passing:

"By Providence, I was privileged to have been home and holding her when she passed into eternity. Though she had weakened considerably in recent months, neither she nor I though that Friday was to be her last day. I had come home early from work to meet with her and a nurse about some other concern when she began a coughing spell. Holding her in my arms I would help her lean forward to cough and back to rest against a stack of pillows. At one point she paused, looked left to the nurse and asked 'Is this it?' The nurse replied 'It might be.' Barb turned back to me - nose to nose, her eyes dilated and she was gone."

Friday, August 12, 2005

Authors and Writing





Chris George at Sunday, August 7, Gazebo reading at LaGuardia Community Gardens, Greenwich Village. Photograph by Robert Schechter. Follow the link through the title for more on last Sunday's poetry reading and gathering.

I am going to use Bob's photograph of me on the flyleaf of my new book, which will be a bicentennial history of the St. Andrew's Society of Baltimore, tentatively titled Maryland's Scottish Heritage: The St. Andrew's Society of Baltimore, 1806–2006. I am meeting with Brian McNeill of the St. Andrew's Society this evening at the Thunder Grill in Union Station for a beer and some chile to discuss finalizing the book. Hopefully the book will be out in time for the Society's spring meeting in March.



I also have an article out in the September issue of Military History on "Militia Redeemed Before Baltimore" with a subcaption "After bungling their defense of Washington in August 1814, American militiamen showed their worth at North Point and Fort McHenry a month later."



One disappointment is that the planned September 16-18 performance of my musical "Jack--The Musical" written with composer Erik Sitbon has had to be cancelled. Nonetheless, I have War of 1812 talks planned for Fort McHenry's Star-Spangled Banner Weekend on the weekend of September 10-11 as well as a talk to give to a military group in Parkville on September 27. I should be able to sell more copies of Terror on the Chesapeake: The War of 1812 on the Bay and get more subscribers for The Journal of the War of 1812, and rope in more attendees for the Ninth National War of 1812 Symposium upcoming on October 8.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Gardeners and Poets

We gather in a Greenwich Village community garden,
beside the public apple tree and the private pear,
to recite our poems for friends and gardeners.

Seniors wander in and sit to listen for a while
then drift off like swallowtails to the honey-scented
buddleia. A woman in a straw sunhat harvests

plump tomatoes in a canvas shoulder bag. Magenta
hibiscus lolls by the gold of black-eyed susans;
our poet-comedian urges laughter with his routine

on spam to shrink his mortgage and grow his johnson;
curious couples peer through green chainlink;
as August evening breezes blow, pigeons convene

on a roof, and a male jitterbugs for bored females.
The rain holds off; words trail off in applause.
We poets retreat to a pub for Guinness and gin.

On the table, someone's placed a pink rose, a green apple.

Christopher T. George



Sciurine Chunter

I'm early to the site of the reading, to check
out the lie of the land. I admire the statue
of LaGuardia, walking mouth open, clapping.

The patio of Newgate pub sits empty, padlocked
where later we poets will regale and carouse,
the garden where we'll read locked too, guarded

by a squirrel in the apple tree. She regards
me with dark moist eye and squeals
her alarm call in insistent sciurine chunter.

Christopher T. George

Note: This was a reading my poets from the websites Gazebo and Able Muse. Pictures and other information from the reading can be reached by hitting the link through the title.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Save Me from the Duck Calls

The dome of the Capitol with the black Indian princess
(Liberty or symbolic of the Amerindian's extermination?)
is perfectly framed between George Washington's oaks.

I shelter in the barrel vaulted arcade of Union Station's
facade; a family disgorges from a D.C. Duck, quacking
their pesky yellow quackers; Dad gives his two toddlers

their quackers--please don't do that! Fine: they march
off into the station's inner sanctum. Water cascades
from the eastern fountain in shimmering sheets; a black-

and-white pigeon lands momentarily for a drink, sails off
over the Duck docked in the circle; its driver, Aye aye, Cap'n,
sits on a windowsill, reads James Ellroy's Black Dahlia,
idly twisting kiss curls in his remaining snow white hair.

Christopher T. George





Brave Ulysses

It's egg-fry-on-the-sidewalk weather in D.C.,
tourists in shorts mob round the U.S. Capitol,
take turns snapping pics with their digicams.

Ulysses S. Grant still sits huge and green
on his horse, brim of his slouch hat pulled down
to keep out the rain; either side of him slog

his troops, a cavalry charge, artillery, so wet,
so muddy, but it's dry here in D.C., visitors gasp
for an ice cold water or an ice cream, please.

Christopher T. George

The Danger of Abbreviations

"Tiny PCs goes into administration. . ."
Headline, BBC Business News, July 27, 2005

Tiny police constables in giant bobby's helmets swarm
over the London Underground! Must be a strategy

to get 'em to crawl under passenger seats,
bite the legs of terrorists as they get ready

to blow up their backpacks, their midget
incisors specially sharpened for the job.

Christopher T. George

Monday, July 25, 2005

Yet More Worrying Developments Out of London

On Saturday, the Metropolitan Police admitted that the man who was shot on the tube train was not part of the bomb plots and he appears to have been a completely innocent man. The police now say that Brazilian Jean Charles de Menezes, 27, who was killed in error by police at Stockwell Tube station on Friday after they suspected he was a suicide bomber, had been in Britain on an out-of-date student visa. This means that the police have a major problem on their hands in addition to the effort to track down the bombers and their accomplices which they have indicated has already stretched their resources to the limits. The dead man's cousin, Alex Pereira, stated: "They killed my cousin, they could kill anyone." (See link through title above.)

Friday, July 22, 2005

More Worrying Developments in London

I am monitoring the news about the man shot dead this morning at Stockwell Station. The man is said by the police to be not one of the would-be bombers from yesterday but nonetheless somehow connected to the bomb plots.

Considering that the fellows were apparently making the explosives in their bathtub(s) using fertilizer, it does appear they are not the most sophisticated crew. It could be either that yesterday's bombs were either not properly primed, or else as I believe I heard one expert say, the bomb mixture might have deteriorated with time. Still, worrying times in Britain right now!!!

I sent an e-mail to MSNBC last night. I travel every day through Washington D.C.'s Union Station and on the D.C. Metro but I see no evidence that bomb-sniffing dogs are being used as they are, I understand, on the transit system in London. The railway tickets of people boarding trains were checked for two days only after the July 7 London bombings but not since. Civil liberties people are protesting a plan in New York to randomly search commuters baggage. That would seem to me to be a small price to pay for any law-abiding citizen.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Detonated

Another series of bomb incidents on the transit in London
only this time the bombs don't blow, only the detonators
go Pop! on three tube trains and a double-decker bus.

A bomber lands splat on his back, the bathtub explosive
failing to go kaboom, blinks to not find himself enjoying Paradise

having his way with the promised 72 virgins. Tough, Ali.

Christopher T. George

Monday, July 18, 2005

Floral Tribute at King's Cross*

White chrysanthemums and orange-tinged yellow roses
in cellophane with turquoise prayer beads
photographed with the words of Issa:

in this world
we walk on the roof of hell
gazing at flowers

Christopher T. George

* Follow the link in the title to see Ashe's tribute using these words of Issa's:

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Hatred




Hatred
blindfolds, justice
denied, blinded victims,
insurgents blindfolded, Prud'hon's
Fortune.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Lives of July 7





From the viewpoint of an ex-pat Liverpudlian
I learn of the losses of fellow Scousers

--the John Lennon Airport executive who lost his legs
after the tube train at Aldgate Station exploded;

and on the number 30 bus in Tavistock Square,
the girlfriend of the Walton chap talking to him by phone

about his birthday, their plans for that evening--

--the explosion set off by the nice quiet teenager

fiddling with backpack, chap whose dad runs a chippie.

Christopher T. George



The Dogs of War

Joining the undercover operatives, the Smart Bombs,
the closed circuit videocams, wet noses at the ready,

sniff sniff sniff, a beagle seeks out a cache of Semtex
or the torso-wrap of high-grade plastic explosives

masquerading as spare tire or tourist's money belt, to nose
out the "clean skins" or young radicals, innocent

of any crime, with murderous fire in their bellies.

Christopher T. George

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Anthem

Lay a new foundation stone,
raise the roof tree
toward the North Star,
lend a helping hand,
palms callused with work--
that's how to defeat evil,
everyone working together,
all our hearts in unison,
our hopes harnessed to defeat
the shadow men, the forces
that divide us, when the devil
seeps into our foundations,
threatens society at its taproot.

Christopher T. George

Condo Viewing

A to-die-for view of Johns Hopkins' leafy campus,
and toward the misty Baltimore harbor, the Bay,
the walls hung with Impressionist paintings,
a sliding glass door out to the rooftop pool.
The guys who own it are upping stakes for
Florida, and a high rise overlooking ocean.
If we only had a cool half a million to buy,
and fix up, and fill with big furniture, like
their heavy French provincial treasures.
Maybe my musical in Charlotte will bring
me riches -- but must I sink a few grand
into "Jack" to bring it all about? Turn
investor, or continue to just dream?

Christopher T. George

Friday, July 08, 2005

Yowza

Nervous enough with the bombings in London
I plough through Union Station for a paper,
blasted by a sodding downpour as I emerge
from L'Enfant Metro, crepe myrtles buffeted
by the storm, umbrella arm soaked, hop
over puddles. I felt relieved to see
the George W. Bush action figure at attention
beside Tony Blair as the P.M. spoke out--
George and Dick Cheney have assured
us Al Queda is on the ropes. Better order
more air strikes in Iraq and Afghanistan, make
some more little Jihadists to hit us again.

Christopher T. George

I got absolutely drenched coming into work from the Metro from the remains of Hurricane Cindy. No major problems with the trains. It looked as if the Secretary of Homeland Security was being interviewed for TV in Union Station as I arrived.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

After Bad News

I gird
myself after
hearing devastating
tidings, sniff the gardenias,
go on.

Christopher T. George

I write this now in the aftermath of the bloody bombings of this morning in London tube stations and on board a double-decker bus that was sliced open as if by a can opener. London was just yesterday awarded the 2012 Olympics and yet human life on earth remains a five ring circus.

Words

Out them!
They come tumbling.
Words! You know what I mean.
I never sought them, but, yes, here
they are.

Christopher T. George

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Earthworm Dampness


Earthworm Dampness

Late afternoon rain draws a musty smell
from the earth after another hot day,
a backhoe moves earth, uproots trees,
a mulcher whines; a hardhat feeds

limbs into the whirling blades.
They're clearing more land for more
graves at Arlington Cemetery, to add
to the quarter million that wave

already with stars and stripes
on the manicured lawns sloping
down to the muddy Potomac.

Christopher T. George

"Jack--The Musical" in Charlotte, North Carolina



Unfortunately due to circumstances beyond my control, the planned performance of my musical "Jack--The Musical" at the Booth Theatre in Charlotte on the weekend of September 16-18 will not now take place. It would have been nice. We are looking into possibilities of presenting the show in England and France. Stay tuned.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Chris George Interviewed

You can read an interview I did with editor Greg Young in the July 2005 issue of Majestic Oaks by following the link above.

Enjoy!

All my best

Chris

******************


Here is a new form that I am pioneering that grew directly out of the Wild Poetry Forum cinquain train see
http://www.wildpoetryforum.com/discus/messages/25324/30418.html
in Wild's community action section. The form comprises writing a number of linked cinquains, i.e., regularly structured cinquains of 2, 4, 6, 8, 2 syllables but that instead are patterned as 2, 4, 6, 8, 2, 4, 6, 8, 2, 4, 6, 8, 2, for as many links as you need, as follows--


Reunion

For Gary Blankenship

My heart,
re-examined
with each recollection
from my past: all of my past loves
and griefs
I revisit
every family
reunion; greet the living
and grieve
for those of us
now dead, relatives loved;
their bodies may be gone but souls
remain,
forever in
our lives. Here with us now,
they sit, visit with us at times
like this.

Christopher T. George

Tame the Ghosts




Erik has a new rockabilly CD out but the title track "Tame the Ghosts"
is not the one I wrote about past loves, Marjorie, Andrea, and Pat.

It's a more serious song by the Frenchman born of a Swedish lady teacher
and a Tunisian who died of heart disease and lies in a quiet French village:

camellia blossoms in a village graveyard; chime of a church clock.
Ghosts haunt us -- as I write these words, as I lift my coffee to drink,

past lives of friends and family touch us momentarily in the celestial arc
of our travels. I struggle to describe the ghosts that shadow me always.

Christopher T. George


July already and only half a day to work today ahead of the Independence Day weekend. I finished my deadline for the Gynecologic Oncology unit and am now moving onto Patient Management, logging in the manuscripts as they come in, sorting out formatting problems and bouncing items back to the authors if necessary. I have started editing the unit, then it will be a matter of working up to finalizing the editing at the beginning of September in order to mail the edited books out to the task force. I anticipate that my schedule will become more hectic as I finalize the book. Being an editor with constant deadlines is like being on a merry-go-round! You no sooner finish one deadline than you are working on another.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Striking Entrance

"Naturally, after a career. . . which spans more than forty years, Redgrave knows something about entrances, exits, and costuming."
The New Yorker, June 27, 2005

For weeks now, I've monitored the trackside
on my rail trek from Baltimore to Washington
to see when the orange trumpet vines burst

into bloom. And now summer heat has zinged
the Bay area, here they are! Growing lushest
in stinky places, processing plant, underpass.

Actresses of common roots! Gorgeous dames
who trip their finery in trackside dumps!
I'll forgive as one smiles as she throttles

a purple clematis. Miss Marple's revenge!

Christopher T. George

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Some Reflections on Parents for Father's Day

Father

After Adam Bellow

You were my famous father, Saul, but after age two
I did not live with you. You always remained a distant
cypher. We never celebrated my birthday together,
no cake with funny bunnies, trick candles, giggles

over balloons that burst or whizzed round the room.
No. You were elsewhere and then at Thanksgiving
and Hannukah too. You were elsewhere, fathering
other sons and later a daughter. Each child hoped

they would somehow someday know you, longed
for an orgy of togetherness, sharing the first light,
a beer with their dad, yellow-green fireflies rising.
You married new women, one after another, won

the Nobel Prize, entertained your readership with
your eruditeness, the aging witty, sensitive writer.
You shared with everyone except your offspring.

But contrariwise, I know you: my dream fulfilled.
My father, whom I never knew, cohabits my body.

Christopher T. George

**********************

Red Roses and Orange Lilies

Busy midweek, I drive Mom for a Saturday morning grocery shop,
she worries that the sign says "Speed hump" instead of "bump."

I say is it "catsup" or "ketchup"? She says "It's a different recipe."
I say, in medicine, a cream is waterbased and creme oil-based,

still she worries that the light is taking too long to change, worries
where she is, needs to know, forgetful. My mother at eighty-four.

Christopher T. George

Note: at this time I am featured poet at Hypertexts -- http://www.thehypertexts.com/

Also check out my personal poetry site at chrisgeorge.netpublish.net/index.htm

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Tom Hanks' Deep Throat Movie versus Woodward's?

The family of Mark Felt, recently revealed to be "Deep Throat" supposedly Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward's major informant during the Watergate scandal, have a publishing and movie deal and Felt might end up being played by Tom Hanks whose company have optioned Felt's life story. Where does this leave a possible movie deal for Woodward's upcoming book? Or will the Tom Hanks film be mostly about Felt's life, as implied in the following Washington Post story, leaving the way open for a movie based on Woodward's book focusing on Deep Throat and Watergate?

Deep Throat Family Cuts Publishing, Film Pacts
Tom Hanks to Develop Movie About Secret Watergate Source

By Bob Thompson
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, June 16, 2005; Page C01

Deep Throat has a book deal and a movie deal, and he could end up being played by Tom Hanks.

The family of 91-year-old W. Mark Felt, who revealed his role as The Washington Post's key Watergate source two weeks ago, has chosen PublicAffairs Books to publish a combination of autobiography and biography, publisher and CEO Peter Osnos said last night. Osnos said that Universal Pictures has optioned Felt's life story and the book for a movie to be developed by Hanks's production company, Playtone.

He said the book will blend Felt's own writing about his life, including his out-of-print 1979 memoir, "The FBI Pyramid: From the Inside," and some unpublished material, with contributions from Felt's family and from lawyer John D. O'Connor, who has been advising the Felts. O'Connor wrote the Vanity Fair article that named Felt as Deep Throat after the secret had been kept for 33 years.

The additional material from Felt, Osnos said, includes discussion of how he decided to provide guidance to Post reporter Bob Woodward, and why.

The book is to be published next spring. Its working title is "A G-Man's Life: The FBI, Being 'Deep Throat' and the Struggle for Honor in Washington."

David Kuhn, the New York-based agent who has been representing the family in conjunction with Beverly Hills-based Creative Artists Agency, said last night that "Hanks's company was interested in the rights to the story within a day or two" of the revelation of Deep Throat's identity. He said the movie deal was concluded Tuesday night.

Kuhn would not comment on the sums paid in either the book or the movie deal, except to say that the family's decision on the book "was not based on money" but rather on the vision for its publication put forth by Osnos, a former Washington Post reporter and editor who helped cover the Senate Watergate hearings.

PublicAffairs generally doesn't pay advances of more than $75,000.

Neither Felt's daughter, Joan, nor his son, Mark Jr., returned phone calls last night. Kuhn said they would be "interviewed for the book and would participate in the storytelling."

During the two weeks the Felt project was being shopped, it met with considerable skepticism from publishers. The two reasons usually cited were the health of the elderly Felt, whose physical and mental deterioration appeared to preclude new contributions from him, and the presence of a competing book from Woodward, who had already written his own version of the Deep Throat story.

Woodward's "The Secret Man: The Story of Watergate's Deep Throat" is being rushed into print. His publisher, Simon & Schuster, has set a publication date of July 6.

Warner Books publisher Jamie Raab said last week that she had heard the Felt pitch and decided not to bid. "The book is not a Watergate book per se," Raab said. "It's not going to answer some of the lingering questions. . . . They're sort of writing around Mark Felt's life."

Little, Brown editor Geoff Shandler expressed skepticism as well, but he didn't rule out the success of a Felt book. "Traveling in Woodward's wake could be a profitable place to be, depending on what you pay and when you publish," Shandler said. "There is an equation that would work."

But publishing executives agreed that the real money was on the Hollywood end.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Sequined Glove

.
.
The aging boy, man-child,
surgically mutated,
the Calif legal system's
rigamarole of metal detectors
as superstar and entourage pass through.
Apply the pale makeup today, the blank look--

Ooh, baby, baby
Where did our love go?


What to do when the cameras fade away,
when the music fades, the memory
of jack-up trousers with white socks?

The gates of the Neverland Ranch
where the seventh of nine children
slept with other children. Man-child.

Music makes you free--

His own private theme park
with Zipper ride,
ride the rollercoaster all night long.

A memory of twenty years ago--
the red leather jacket
with all the zippers, black-face boy
singing "Beat It"
reinventing the Sharks and Jets
for a new generation.
The kids flocked
to Waxie Maxie's
to plunk down their bucks
but that was then, this is now.

The cable news guys have packed up
their video equipment and gone home,
leaves blow in front of the gates.

Ooh, baby, baby
Where did our love go?
Ooh, don't you want me
Don't you want me no more
Ooh, baby--


The words echo in the belltower;
the armband, the sequined glove.

Christopher T. George
.
.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Adventures on the MARC train to D.C.

Trouble with the 5:55 am MARC train this morning -- the locomotive pulled us into the tunnel headed southwest out of Penn Station, Baltimore, then died! We had to be hauled back into the station then all boarded the delayed 6:20 am which then made all the stops down to D.C. meaning I was an hour late reaching work. Luckily I am staying later tonight and will also all this week and most next to meet my deadline on June 23. Much to do.

Interesting post by John Simkin on the Education Forum at http://educationforum.ipbhost.com/index.php about the evolution of "Deep Throat" throwing some doubt on whether Mark Felt is actually Bob Woodward's source in the Watergate case:

David Obst, Woodward’s literary agent in the 1970s, has given an interview to the journalist Sharon Churcher. Obst attempted to sell the manuscript of "All the President’s Men." He pointed out that Deep Throat did not figure in the early manuscript of "All the President’s Men." Nor did he appear in any of the Watergate reports in the Washington Post. Obst admits that the manuscript was originally a straightforward political analysis of Watergate that was turned down by seven publishers. Deep Throat was only added to the manuscript after Woodward met the screenwriter William Goldman at a party. It was then accepted by Simon & Schuster. It also became part of a film deal with a script written by Goldman. Obst claims that the character of Deep Throat was inserted in order to get a film deal and a contract with Simon & Schuster.

The identification of Felt as Deep Throat is part of a new Woodward book deal. Woodward’s new book on Deep Throat, "The Secret Man," is due out next month. What a coincidence?

Interesting stuff.... !!!

Incidentally, I joined the Education Forums, based in England, to discuss my interest in Jack the Ripper. I am glad to find that my old friend Stewart Evans is one of the authorities posting on the site. It is some time since we have been in contact.

************************

Written on my way home on the MARC Train on Friday afternoon:

Cabbage Whites

At last, done with my deadline, I see the world anew,
my senses alive as I ride home by train in the afternoon sun,

move slow near BWI Airport: sandy soil, honeysuckle, vetch,
I see cabbage whites wander the yellow and pink blossoms,

white mostly but an occasional yellow or orange fritillary.
No stunners these guys, not the diva-like swallowtail or regal

monarch, the other-worldly luna moth I saw in South Carolina!
No! Whites perform no leads -- they take bit parts, like me!

Christopher T. George

Friday, June 10, 2005

Friday in D.C. -- Still Hectic!

Chance of rain today, with some dark clouds hanging ominously round. As I indicated before, the charactersistically hot and steamy Chesapeake Bay summer has begun.

Yesterday, I finally completed the art dummy for the gynecologic oncology unit that I am working on, and am expected to turn in the whole text on June 23, so anticipate to be working late in the next two weeks to accomplish that. But it is the nature of the job that I signed up for.

At the same time I am trying to work on several personal projects, including finishing writing a Bicentennial history of the St. Andrew's Society of Baltimore, founded in 1806, and work with a director and producer in Charlotte, North Carolina, to produce a version of my musical "Jack--The Musical" written with French composer Erik Sitbon. See http://www.actorssceneunseen.com/ripper.asp

I wrote recently on my friend in connecttion with a poem of mine published on Michael Parker's blog http://www.desertmoonreview.com/discus/messages/6976/13681.html that human disasters and atrocities recede in memory, unfortunately, as newer and worse disasters arise... think how Three Mile Island, Bhopal, and Chernobyl have receded, and also Oklahoma even in the wake of 9/11. The recent devastating southeast Asian tsunami comes to mind as well... and I would like to direct anyone interested to a short historical essay about the origin of the use of the word "tsunami" in English. Go to "Go to Lafcadio Hearn and the Japanese Tsunami: A Historical Essay. "

***************

Crispy Chicken in Karachi

Mr. Rangoonwala has a problem.

Smoke blackens his KFC
and the smiling face of Colonel Sanders
with goatee and string tie.

The sign over the burned out KFC encourages:
"Come have a chicky meal. . ."

When an Al Queda suicide bomber
blew himself up at the nearby
Shiite mosque,

killing a muezzin, a policeman, and himself,
Shiites looked for a target.

They burned out the KFC
with six employees inside;
two froze to death in the freezer.

A banner at the mosque says
"We want to warn America:
Martyrdom is out heritage."

Mr. Rangoonwala survived
the burning of another of his outlets
when the U.S. invaded Afghanistan.

He produced decorative plates that said,
"Pakistani owner. . . Pakistani manager."
But no one has been killed before.

Mr. Rangoonwala has a problem.

Christopher T. George

"Colonel Sanders Finds Himself Under Fiery Siege in Pakistan," New York Times, June 8, 2005



***************

Held Captive

Struggling to meet my deadline, I am kept late in work.
The publications people and Sallye my supervisor breathe
down my neck for the material to publish the final stage

of the gynecologic oncology unit. Stages! All the staging
algorithms for vulvar, cervical, ovary, breast cancer,
all with boxes of tiny type, of scientific gobble-di-gook:

"Exploratory laparotomy, TAH-BSO plus peritoneal cytology,
pelvic lymphadenectomy, brachytherapy, hysterotomy."
Staging! I want to catch a stage out of here! I tiredly ache,

glance out at the late afternoon D.C. scene of bright sun,
the new office building rising inexorably. Men in hardhats work
in the open floors of cement and two by fours--and, caged

at upper right of my window, I make out the captive pinnacle
of the Washington Monument amid steel bars, cement pillars,
near-buried from view by the new Colossus! Aargh! Get

me out of here, burst the bars, the chains! Freedom beckons!

Christopher T. George

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Tuesday in Hot and Humid D.C.

Hot and steamy this morning in D.C. -- welcome to the Chesapeake Bay summer! After last evening's thunderstorms, streams and rivers swollen sickly yellow-brown as I traveled down by MARC train from Baltimore. Today promises to be another hectic day as I wrestle to get in the illustrations for Gynecologic Oncology unit. Stay tuned.

Woodward and Bernstein were totally blindsided I think by the sudden announcement that Mark Felt was "Deep Throat" something that Ben Bradlee and the Post first denied when the Felt family made the revelation in connection with the upcoming Vanity Fair article on Felt. Luckily, Woodward had a book in hand on the topic, having learned earlier that Felt was ailing after a recent stroke. Looks to be another blockbuster for Woodward. It appears to me that the remaining loose end and question is whether Felt is really lucid enough to know what is going on. His daughter and grandson made the announcement about him being "Deep Throat" but how much did he really know about it?

Bobbleheads

"Bob, the decision to invade was not lightly made,"
George W. confesses to Woodward. "I felt certain I had
the votes." Bob sees Congress as bobbleheads. He nods.

"I hold the lives of all our men and women in my heart."
Bob envisions a burned-out humvee as insurgents brandish
rocket launchers, ready to die for Allah. "I knew I had

the blessing of the man upstairs." Bob sees God's angels
nodding as bobbleheads. George W.'s scottie humps
Bob's leg. "Guess it's time for walkies round the ranch."

Christopher T. George

Monday, June 06, 2005

Another Monday in D.C.

A humid morning in Washington, D.C., and as usual I am mounded under with work, both real work and my own projects, almost ready to cave under the pressure, somehow soldier on. Deadline tomorrow for the illustrative work for the gynecologic oncology unit I am finalizing obstetrics and gynecology educational series at which I earn my bread.

I was fascinated last week reading the articles in the Washington Post about the unveiling of Mark Felt, former no. 2 man in the FBI as "Deep Throat" of the Watergate scandal that brought down President Richard M. Nixon. There is a good article on the hypocrisy of Nixon's cronies such as G. Gordon Liddy and Charles Colson going on the news shows to express their outrage at Felt's supposed duplicity at "betraying" the President. I find myself fascinated by Bob Woodward, the Washington Post reporter who along with Carl Bernstein, did most to unravel the Watergate conspiracy, both the facts of the break-in and the subsequent cover-up by the Nixon White House.

I have written a series of light poems about Woodward, at the time of his book on the Iraq War, and several follow--

The Nation Feels Like a Trout Caught by Bob Woodward

We're live on Larry King
during Bob's vacation
and Larry's gone to commercial.
Woodward has two cell phones
clamped to his ear, he draws
on a cigarette, pulls smoke deep
into his throat, his line sunk
in a stream. Larry's back
and Bob's caught a trout,
the line pulls tight;
Larry: "Did you ask
the President if he ever had
doubts about the war--"
Bob reels in the trout:
"I asked him in the Oval Office
if, when he thought of the soldiers
killed, did he ever have doubts,
and he answered, 'Never.'"
The trout flaps and flaps.

Woodward Hawks Kitchen Knives on Larry King

This guy's never off the box, hawking his new book
slicing up the presidency, unveiling the clockwork
inside the White House, behind the prez's smile.

"Hurry, offer ends soon. Act now and I'll throw in
my alligator knife." It catches the sun like the Samurai
swords in the duel between Rumsfeld and Powell.

"If you call now, I'll throw in this heavy-duty knife
for filleting whales." He juggles blades; Larry asks,
"Who was Deep Throat? Who was Bernstein?"

Christopher T. George

*************

I was thinking of writing another Woodward poem featuring Woodward and Felt in a similar vein to the above. So far, I have come up with the following rather straightforward telling of the story in which I reflect on how the Felt revelation is being received--

Rattlesnake Apparatchik?

The cool G Man who rose inexorably in Hoover's FBI,
you were a tall, smooth operator with coiffed hair
who locked bad guys in the slammer; with snazzy tie,
derby at an angle, you practiced shooting from the hip.

When Vietnam bred new foes for obsessive J. Edgar--
SDS, Panthers--you dutifully chased them down.
A natch that when the old war horse died,
you expected to slide into his doeskin loafers

But It Didn't Happen!--Nixon tapped a crony.
When Tricky Dick ordered a political break-in,
you began to leak tips to the Washington Post,
assumed the codename of a porn legend, met

at 2 AM in the basement of a Roslyn garage;
used the old spy tricks perfected in a career
of deception: you would monitor when
reporter Woodward opened his drapes, moved

a flowerpot with a red flag on his apartment balcony,
marked the reporter's Times with the hands of a clock
with time to meet. Ironic: Nixon later testified
for you, the perfect apparatchik, about "illegal"

break-ins against foes of the war. Many expected
a more famous face; the Post never blew your cover.
To liberals, you're a patriot; to others, a rattlesnake
apparatchik who betrayed a great President.

Christopher T. George