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Sunday, September 25, 2016

A Poem that Rhymes!

Poets are not academics (though some are) or highly educated men and women (though they may be), but most of them are ordinary everyday people with the desire to express something fun or meaningful or turbulent or painful or joyful and so on and so on (you choose).

Many are computer nerds, taxi drivers, hamburger flippers at McDonald's, cleaning men and women, students, drug addicts, police officers, shoe sales people, firemen, some doctors (yes it happens), teachers (okay, that may be obvious), presidents (you never know). Anyway, my point is--is there a point? Not sure. There is no rule or regulation as to who can and should write poetry--or anything else for that matter.

That brings me to a poem of my own. Nothing serious, just a fun play with words. So, please don't take it seriously. It really isn't meant to be taken seriously.

Here we go, a silly poem that rhymes--well somewhat:

A Poem that Rhymes 

On the deck in front of my room
at Cambria Pines Lodge
a little after noon
I’m tempted to snooze
but my undone work
wraps around my neck like a noose.

It is so tight
I want to fight
but then I see the light
and throw pen and paper out of sight.

I’d rather go for a walk
I don’t need to talk
or sing like a lark.

I sigh and admit
that this sounds like shit
but write I must
even if nothing
comes out of it.

There’s nothing to say
that hasn’t already been said
I’ve nothing to say
at the end of the day.

Oh, the freedom of silence
around me and in my mind
so I gaze at the highland
in the distance and pray
and so it’s okay
that I’ve nothing to say.


Monday, September 19, 2016

Dreaming and Research - Central Coast of California

One of my favorite types of research for my novels is traveling to different places where my characters live and work. This time, I spent a few days in one of my favorite spots in California, namely in Cambria at the Cambria Pines Lodge. Since the fictitious Segantino family lives in the wine region of the Central Coast in California, the Paso Robles area was on my itinerary as well. And last but not least, I checked out the California Polytechnic State University or Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo. This is the place where Julietta Santucci, a major character in The Wine Lover's Daughter series, studies architecture and environmental design.

Here are a few pictures of my vacation/research in beautiful San Luis Obispo county.

Cambria Pines Lodge, Cambria

Cambria Pines Lodge is situated on a hill above the town of Cambria and is a charming lodge with beautiful gardens, the perfect place to dream and write.
A very special kind of flower bed

 A garden with organically grown herbs and vegetables they use for cooking is also part of the landscape.

View from my room

A couple of miles north of Cambria is a famous elephant seal spot. These amazing animals come here year after year to breed, raise their young, and relax between their long and arduous migrations in the Pacific Ocean. Every season has its own kind of spectacle. In September, the young males are jousting playfully, preparing for the serious and often bloody fights for dominance and their chosen females.

Of course, a visit to the famous wine region around Paso Robles, the imaginary home of the Segantino family, is mandatory!

Next stop is San Luis Obispo, where I took a brief walk through the Cal Poly campus, a well-known technical and agricultural university.

Another important spot that plays a role in my next novel is the Benedictine monastery in San Luis Obispo, but time ran out and I had to postpone this for another visit. There is always a reason to come back to this beautiful area of California.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Surprise Find - New "old" Poems

I was browsing through my Writing directory and came across a folder I totally forgot about, called Poems 2000. These are poems I wrote around the year 2000 and after reading a few, I decided to review them and perhaps use them in a new poetry volume.

Here is one of them. Not sure what made me write it--perhaps an old man sitting on a park bench or memories of my father? 

I hope you'll enjoy it!

The Old Man and his Memories

He always walks the same street
stops at the same coffee shop
sits at his favorite table
looking lonely and somewhat bored

Today is different; today his eyes
accentuated by the blue hat
are deep and longing
he scans the sky
as if he heard the spirits of lost friends
converse with one another
somewhere above the evening clouds

He’s holding a long-stemmed rose
a perfect bud of red with white tips
who knows which young girl
took pity on an old man
quite decently dressed
alone and possibly ill
the blotchy skin
one edge of his mouth drooping
and the hands unsteady
signs of a past stroke

Perhaps he’s thinking of that night
he walked along the beach
of the flecks of gold on the horizon
of his wife, long dead,
who used to love sunsets
of his married daughter who lives in France
and the grandchild, a girl with long dark hair,
who sends him letters in French
he barely understands but
delights in anyway

I don’t have it bad
he probably thinks
a place to live
a few friends
you can’t ask too much at my age
an occasional phone call from overseas
the usual invitation to come and visit
We’ll take you to Paris
didn’t you always want to go there?

No, not anymore, not without his wife
it would be too sad to always be reminded
how much she would have enjoyed it
more than he who’d really rather stay home
but he would have gone to please her
but now there is no reason anymore

His daughter and the family come to visit
once in a while for a few weeks
the young girls passing by the coffee shop
remind him of her; she used to have long hair
braided the French way

Tonight, perhaps, he’ll sort out
the old photos in the cardboard boxes
and stick them into albums
which he had been planning to do for a long time
only to abandon the task
feeling the life flow out of him and settle
in memories of past adventures
past loves

Sometimes, before falling asleep,
voices from within the bedroom walls
convince him that someone is still alive there

He’s smiling now
a slightly crooked smile
one corner of his mouth pointing upwards
the other one hanging down.