Tuesday, November 27, 2007


Bike ride was nice clear and sunny.
12.6 mi., 1:14:29 time, 10.4 avg., 36.2 max. speed.

Lenny Bruce commenting on "news" that's not new.
"There's a fire in Laurel Canyon"

In case you missed this in the comments section. Here's
a look at some California oxidation in the news.
Butch said...

When I was an airdale at NAS Miramar in 1967, there were terrible fires all over Southern California. I was touched by their tragedy and inevitability. So I wrote a poem. Reviewing it, it could be every bit as relevant today as then. You judge:


There is a fire in the mountains.
The desert is covered with a black fog.
A roaring crackling snarling thing
that devours its way through the lushness of green-brown,
burning and burning,
choking the air with cinders and sparks.
Sagebrush afire,
vermin fleeing,
whole towns gutted,
rag-dolls and mansions,
horses and fallow hay,
all burned,
blister and char.
People standing and praying,
horns blasting.
Firefighters with watery weary eyes

and hard soot-smeared faces,
and big shovels,
hearing the screams in the moment,
and for an eternity of moments.
A whole countryside burning
under clear skies with blood on the sun;
and the creatures struggling in the hellish haze,
watching toil turn to ash,
raise their collective eyes to the dark clouds above;
fire clouds,
and beyond,
and they see nothing;
no rain,
no golden thrones.

Glenn Buttkus 1967

Do visit Alex Shapiro for some heartbreaking photographs.
Have some sympathy for us landlords.
It's Christmas time.
Thank you
And God bless one and all, or whatever it was that tiny Tim said.


Blogger Alex Shapiro said...

Thank you for posting that poem. No words could more accurately describe it.

Heartbreaking, indeed.
These fires and other disasters are constant lessons in the study of not being possessed by one's possessions.
A good lesson, always.

4:53 PM  
Blogger butch said...

Wow, to look at those photos on Alex Shapiro's site is heartbreaking. She had rented that house in Malibu for 5 years. Those could have been her belongings lost, her life traumatized. It is both luck and God's grace that now she sits warm and snug in her home in the San Juans, looking into her wood fire and realizes the tentative nature of our lives, or our being; how synchronicity and serendipity run rampant through our existance. There is something primal about fire, as we creatures stare into those flames. It drags us back to premordial dreams, to genetic imprints, to the caves, to the mud huts and tepees, to the beach fires and campfires and forest fires of our pasts.

Hey, I am both flattered and pleased that you posted one of my poems. Thank you for your friendship, fellowship, and support. The decade I lived in Southern California, dreaming every night of the Northwest, pining for the real mountains, the real forests, and the rain, I marveled every year at how many of those luxury homes slid down the canyons with mudslides, and how often wildfires destroyed them. This did not change much when I moved out to Yacaipa and worked in Palm Springs. Wildfires have hemmed in Palm Springs, cut it off. That and the flash floods. Man those are murder too. One year several of them surrounded Palm Springs, and a senior citizen in his Lincoln towncar decided to try and drive across one. He lost control of the volition, and as the car was swept away, his wife tried to escape, and was sucked down by the torrent and the current. They found her three days later when the water receded. I lived in Glendale for a time, when I was first married to my practice wife. There were terrible wildfires in 1984 blowing hot down over the Verdugo Hills, burning through parts of Burbank. I used to watch them for nights in a row wondering if we would get the loud pounding on the door in the middle of the night, with the sheriff or fire department telling us to get the hell out of there, to flee, to vacate. But it never happened. Fear is a poor bed companion, I'll tell you that.

You and Fidelio are out there in the sunshine, in the 50 degree heat, wheeling your way through the faltering last few days of Fall, when the sunbreaks weakly drift in, in preparation for the rains, for the snow, for Winter. It does amaze me at your physical stamina at your advanced age. I envy you, sir.

As a landlord, just don't raise any rents until 2008. That would be the festive thing to do. I think Tiny Tim said, "God bless us everyone."


5:57 AM  

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