So you can read my books

Wednesday, February 28, 2024



 Lord Byron's letter of February 28, 1817 from Venice to his friend Thomas Moore included one of his most popular lyrics, 

"So we'll go no more a-roving

So late into the night,

Though the heart be still as loving,

And the moon be still as bright.


For the sword outwears its sheath,

And the soul wears out the breast,

And the heart must pause to breathe,

And love itself have rest.


Though the night was made for loving,

And the day returns too soon,

Yet we'll go no more a-roving

By the light of the moon."

To carry on with the moonlight theme: 

Ernest Thompsons On Golden Pond opened on Broadway on this day in 1979 for a ten-and-a-half month run, followed by the hit movie: 

 "Our minds are clear and our hearts are strong.

We are dancing here, but we won’t be long.

There will soon be deer where there now are fawns. But we’ll remember our years on Golden Pond,

On Golden Pond…."

Tuesday, February 27, 2024


"Science says the first word on everything, and the last word on nothing"  – Victor Hugo

What thoughts do you habitually think before sleep claims you?  Do you keep track of such things?

Science does but the conclusions are conflicting

so you can pretty much believe what you want on such matters with some scientist's blessings.

Last night, I was mulling over Robert Frost's evocative poem about the winter wind and a lovely window flower.

She a window flower,
And he a winter breeze.

When the frosty window veil
Was melted down at noon,
And the caged yellow bird
Hung over her in tune,

He marked her through the pane,
He could not help but mark,
And only passed her by,
To come again at dark.
He was a winter wind,
Concerned with ice and snow,
Dead weeds and unmated birds,
And little of love could know.

Before the rest of the poem could murmur within my sleepy brain, a thin, reedy voice spoke to my right.

My ghost cat, Gypsy, yowled her "I am the only friggin' ghost allowed here tonight" yowl.

"All literature begins with geography."

I pried lead-heavy eyelids reluctantly open.

Gypsy shoved her tiny head under my pillow, grumbling low. Robert Frost smiled at her from his ghost chair by my bed.

He gazed off into the darkness and murmured one of the last lines he ever wrote while alive:

"Unless I'm wrong
I but obey
The urge of a song

And I may return
If dissatisfied
With what I learn
From having died."

He turned his eyes back to me.

"As it turned out, I was quite satisfied with what I learned. But Elinor has chased me out of our celestial farm tonight."

He rubbed his chin ruefully.

"She says I always get insufferable on this day."

Gypsy pulled her head out from under the pillow and yowled. Robert Frost shook his head and answered my cat.

"Upon this day in 1963 I learned that my "In the Clearing" collection had won the Bollingen Prize for best book of American verse, 1962. It oddly pleased me to no end for some reason."

I tried to blink some clarity to the fog of my awakening mind. "Ah, Mr. Frost ...."

"Rob, please."

"Uh, Rob, do you really think all literature begins with geography?"

He laughed.

"Starting with absolute pronouncements is an old teaching trick, Roland.

You were a teacher as was I. You know that. It is human nature to rail against them, to kick holes in them, thus thinking through your own beliefs in the meantime."

He pursed his lips like a troubled librarian for a moment.

"But geography certainly shaped my own poetry. You could call these places "Frost Country":

San Francisco, Lawrence, Derry, England, Franconia, Shaftsbury, Ripton and Bennington. These are the literary time capsules of my beliefs and will enrich your enjoyment of my poetry."

Gypsy angrily muttered under her feline breath, and Robert Frost chuckled, "No that is not the reason I disturbed your sleep, ghost-cat."

He patted his knees.

"I wanted to tell you, Roland, to persevere. You, and all your blog friends, have more talent than you believe, and this new year will bring fresh harvests."

He rose slowly, smiling ruefully.

"By working faithfully eight hours a day you may eventually get to be boss and work twelve hours a day."

He started to fade like a dream upon awakening.

"No great wisdom from beyond I'm afraid. In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: it goes on."

He tapped my shoulder with all-but-invisible hand.

"Forgive me my nonsense, as I also forgive the nonsense of those that think they talk sense."

The last thing I saw was his faint smile.

"Now, back home to Elinor. Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in."

And he was gone.

So? Do you have any tricks you use when you want to make your readers think?

And do you think Rob was right? Does all literature begin with geography? Do the important places in your life affect how and what you write?

What thoughts do you usually mull over as you drift off to sleep?


Monday, February 26, 2024



My Western Samuel McCord fantasies certainly hope so.

Set in the same time period as Kevin Costner's HORIZON

Grace Randolph likes STAGECOACH

as do I.

In fact, back in the day

John Wayne could have played Sam McCord ...

and once did in fact!

What do you think?

Are Westerns due for a comeback?

Saturday, February 24, 2024



"The poetry of the earth is never dead."

- John Keats

“Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one’s definition of your life; define yourself.”
- Robert Frost

"Poetry is when an emotion has found its thought, and the thought has found words.”
  - Robert Frost

Has poetry become the slide rule of literature, of the arts?

The knee-jerk instinct is to strongly deny that assertion.  

But sadly wanting something to be true does not make it true.

In 1992, 17% of Americans had read ONE poem IN THE PRIOR YEAR. ONE IN A YEAR'S TIME.

In 2012, 6.7% had read ONE poem IN THE PAST YEAR.  6.7%!  ONE POEM!

Since 2002, the number of poetry readers has contracted 45% --  

the steepest decline in any literary genre.

Poetry is less popular than jazz, dance, and knitting.  

It only beats going to the opera by a slim percentage.

From 2004 to 2015 Google Searches for poetry have fallen faster than a brick kite.  

Today's Google Searches for poetry are only 20% of what they were ten years ago.

Our hearts want it to be otherwise, but the numbers say different.

Still, I read poetry daily for it sings to me as no other prose does and whispers my soul's thoughts:

I live alone, I look to die alone:
Yet sometimes, when a wind sighs through the sedge,
Ghosts of my buried years, and friends come back,

My heart goes sighing after swallows flown
On sometime summer's unreturning track. 

 - Christina Georgiana Rossetti

Wednesday, February 21, 2024


  National Poetry Day?

But since Poetry is an endangered species of literature, 

it comes and goes unnoticed by most.

Here is a tip of my Stetson to Poetry and its unremembered day:

I have a ghost cat.  Gypsy is her name.  It's all right if you think I am crazy.  Most days I do as well.

Being a ghost, she warns me when I am about to be visited in the midst of my sleep.  

She mutters under her breath as she was muttering now.

A reedy voice quavered in the darkness by my bed, "I have been one acquainted with the night. 

A poem begins as a lump in the throat, a sense of wrong, a homesickness, a lovesickness"

Robert Frost slowly materialized in a misty cane chair by my bed. 

"I thought people would always be held fixed by poetry -- not necessarily mine.  But now, poetry is as dead as I."

Gypsy muttered something in cat and shoved her head under my pillow, and Frost shook his head,

"Yes, even more so since I am keeping your loyal cat awake."

He smiled at my frown.  "I am fluent in Cat."

His smile died, "But no one is fluent in the magic of poetry any more it seems."

I murmured a bit of "I Knew a Woman" by Theodore Roethke:

"I knew a woman, lovely in her bones
When small birds sighed,
she would sigh back at them."

He shook a long forefinger at me.  "You do not count.  You are Lakota."

I snorted, "We Lakota hear that a lot."

He ignored me.  We Lakota are used to that, too, and he whispered,

"Society has been changing in a way that did not favor the reading of poetry. 

From the Me Generation of the '70s to the get-rich-quick '80s, 

to the "Disagree With Me, And I Will Try and Erase You," our culture became intensely prosaic.

Ambiguity, complexity and paradox fell out of favor. You the living embraced easily defined goals and crystal-clear communication 

(Ronald Reagan was president, presiding over the literalization of America).

Fewer politicians seemed to quote contemporary poets in speeches, 

and the relatively small number of name-brand, living American poets died or faded from view.

By the '90s, it was all over. 

If you doubt this statement, consider that poetry is 

the only art form where the number of people creating it is far greater than the number of people appreciating it.

Anyone can write a bad poem.

To appreciate a good one, though, takes knowledge and commitment. 

As a society, you lack this knowledge and commitment. People don't possess the patience to read a poem 20 times before the sound and sense of it takes hold.

They aren't willing to let the words wash over them like a wave, demanding instead for the meaning to flow clearly and quickly. 

They want narrative-driven forms, stand-alone art that doesn't require an understanding of the larger context."

The ghost of Hemingway materialized beside him, sipping from a glass of whiskey. 

"Roland is part of a world that apotheosizes the trendy, and poetry is just about as untrendy as it gets. 

Bored housewives want to read books with buzz, the latest trend."

I shook my head.  "Not everyone."

They both said as one, "You don't count."

I was starting to get a complex.

Hemingway muttered, 

"Poetry is designed for an era when people valued the written word and had the time and inclination to possess it in its highest form."

Frost nodded, "Poetry is dead."

Hemingway scowled over to me. 

"If poetry is dead, you prose writers are in the next ward over, wheezing noisily, with your family gathered around looking concerned and asking about your silverware."

I shook my head and murmured from Theodore Roethke again:

"I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
I feel my fate in what I cannot fear.
I learn by going where I have to go.

We think by feeling. What is there to know?
I hear my being dance from ear to ear.
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow."

And since Gypsy is now a ghost cat, she drew her tiny head out from under the pillow

and yowled in a voice which sent shivers through the marrow of my bones,

 "Little do you two-leggeds know of the things that ink may do, how it can mark a dead man's thoughts for the wonder of later years, and tell of happenings that are gone clean away,

and be a voice for us out of the dark of time, and save many a fragile thing from the pounding of heavy ages; or carry to us, over the rolling centuries,

even a song from lips long dead on forgotten hills.” 

With that, Gypsy thrust her tiny ghost head under my pillow.  

Frost turned to Hemingway and sighed, "When ghosts of cats speak wiser and lovelier than we, it is time to go."

Which they did.





Monday, February 19, 2024



Ghost of Mark Twain here at Roland's with Midnight a'studying me from the fireplace mantle.

President's Day ... 

No, I am not going to rant on the farce of your current political situation ...

except to say that politicians are like diapers, and should be changed frequently ... and for the same reasons.

You would think presidents would have compassion on idiots ...

on account of personal experience and heredity.

Roland, and I share the same distrust of any politician.  Roland's studied history, and I have lived it!

Take the presidents on this day set aside for them ...


When old Teddy Roosevelt was sworn to office the Phillipine-American war had been raging for two years already, 

Roosevelt had been in office for not even a fortnight when he heard the terrible news 

that 50 US soldiers had been killed on the island of Samar. 

This being the biggest single military loss since the battle of the little Bighorn 25 years prior, 

Roosevelt sort of lost his calm and ordered General Jacob H. Smith to "sort this mess out once and for all"

 thus leading to the massacre of thousands at the "Balangiga massacre" namely most being civilians.

Smith was quoted saying to his troops, 

"I want no prisoners. I wish for you to kill and burn; the more you kill and burn the more it will please me." 

Smith was noted for being a brutal man having played his part in the Wounded Knee massacre, was this the reason Smith was chosen for the task? 

It is noted that when the General was court martialed and found guilty of this massacre 

Roosevelt reprimanded and retired Smith. 


Pilgrims, the more I learned about presidents, the more I loved my dog.

Jackson expelled 100,000 Natives from their homelands. 

As a soldier Jackson had already acted mercilessly towards the natives, killing and exiling large numbers of them, 

and as US president he signed the "Indian Removal Act,"

which was effectively a death sentence for thousands more. 

 This law permitted the relocation of Native American tribes 

such as the Cherokee,Seminole and Chickasaw peoples in order to create territories for white settlers. 

 The move was so rapid and so badly organized that an estimated 25% of those deported 

died of hunger, hypothermia or exhaustion. 

This terrible chapter in US history is known as the Trail of Tears


 The history of the USA begins with George Washington, don't you know. 

At the age of 22, when he was still a British Officer in the American colonies, 

Washington was involved in an incident that is still debated by historians today. 

 In May 1754, the French sent a diplomat out to secure the territory, 

but Washington ambushed the Frenchman, the French negotiator and up to 13 of his soldiers were killed. 

 This incident caused the French and Indian wars in North America, which culminated two years later into the Seven Years War (1756-1763), 

A bloody conflict between the great European powers of the time.

 Many historians consider this the first world war as it was the first to be fought in America, Europe and Asia. 

And America has been mistaking it way from war to war ever since.


 Reader, I am not trying to convince you of anything here. 

I have long since learned it is easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled.

From Hollywood actor to the most powerful man in the world. 

 In the years following WW2 he spied on his fellow actors in Hollywood for the FBI, 

reportedly under the codename T-10.

 Film actors were part of the Screen Actors Guild union 

and in the mind of the former head of the FBI, J. Edgar Hoover, every union was a secret society of communists.

 In return, the FBI actively supported Reagan's political career right up until his presidency.


Look at the "kindly" eyes of that pilgrim.

Why the man envied Kennedy his affairs and commenced to have more.  

 Johnson would make passes at secretaries, 

and it was known that any who accepted would be promoted to private secretary,

 two words that in this context, children,  should probably have air quotes around them anytime they are uttered. 

By the time he was done, virtually all of his secretaries, plus his two mistresses, got the Johnson Treatment.

The man certainly had his issues, don't you know, and would whip out his "Johnson" (or Jumbo as he called it) in public.  

During a Cabinet meeting, when asked why the U.S. went into Vietnam, 

Johnson reportedly whipped it out and bellowed, “This is why!”

Reader, suppose you were an idiot, and then suppose you were a president ... but I repeat myself.


Old  Grover Cleveland – 

A presidential secret that most people don’t know about him is that long before that Cosby fellow ...

He was accused of being a rapist. 

Maria Halpin, a store clerk, claimed he violently raped her after a night out.

 She then had a child, the paternity test was never known, but he did pay child support ...

after placing the child in an orphanage and putting the store clerk in an insane asylum!

Of all the animals, Man alone is cruel and inflicts pain for the pleasure of it.

You may, of course, disagree with me with impunity ... since I am not the sitting president.


Another "kindly" eyed man, twenty-ninth president Warren Gamaliel Harding (1865-1923) 

repeatedly made love to a young girl, Nan Britton, in a White House closet. 

On one occasion, Secret Service agents had to stop his wife from beating down the closet door!


The Thomas Jefferson Foundation 

(why do I not have a foundation I ask you?!)

from DNA and historical evidence believe that, years after his wife’s death, 

Thomas Jefferson was the father of the six children of his slave, Sally Hemings, 

mentioned in Jefferson's records, including Beverly, Harriet, Madison, and Eston Hemings. 

Madison and Eston were released in Jefferson's 1826 will. 

Jefferson gave freedom to no other entire slave family.

America, I have found, is full of cruelties, vanities, and hypocrisies ... but all the other countries are no better ...

for they are ruled by men.


 A longtime close friend of Oscar Folsom, Grover Cleveland, at age 27, met his future wife shortly after she was born. 

He took a keen interest in the child, buying her a baby carriage and otherwise doting on her as she grew up. 

When her father, Oscar Folsom, died in a carriage accident on July 23, 1875, 

without having written a will, the court appointed Cleveland administrator of his estate. 

This brought Cleveland into still more contact with Frances, then age 11.

 Sometime while she was in college, Cleveland's feelings for her took a romantic turn. 

He proposed by letter in August 1885, soon after her graduation. 

 They did not announce their engagement, however, until just five days before the wedding.

Well, children, I'd tell you more but I've gone and depressed myself and bored Midnight! 

For More Of Mark Twain and Historical Figures ...

Monday, February 12, 2024



Blasphemous words here in
 South West Louisiana for sure!

Billed as the biggest free party on Earth, 
Mardi Gras is known worldwide.

  Colorful costumes. Spectacular parades. 
Elegant pageants. Masked balls. 

 People dancing in the streets to rhythmic, intoxicating music. 

All with an air of carefree abandon. As the music reverberates, alcohol flows. 

Wildly elaborate floats glide down the street, with frenzied masqueraders onboard. 

Crowds of onlookers shout encouragement. 

 This may come as a surprise, 
but Mardi Gras long predates Christianity. 

 The earliest record comes from ancient times, 

when tribes celebrated a fertility festival that welcomed the arrival of spring, a time of renewal of life. 

The Romans called this pagan festival Lupercalia in honor of “Lupercus,” the Roman god of fertility. 

Lupercalia was a drunken orgy of merrymaking 

held each February in Rome, after which participants fasted for 40 days. 

Am I a party-pooper?

No, I am a rare blood courier, 

and I see the bloody toll the partying and alcohol-fueled driving and anger takes on my community.

Countless times today I was delayed and detoured on stat runs 

to make way for the parades and for drunken people staggering to line up hours in advance of the parades.

When a patient is bleeding to death, 

and a drunken woman staggers off the sidewalk directly in my van's path, I sigh.

The parades all seem to be routed directly in front of the hospitals.

Waiting for a traffic light to change, 

I watched the crowds on the sidewalk as a grandmother bumped and ground like  ...

an  exotic dancer.  

I was impressed with her limberness, 

saddened by her two young, perplexed grandsons watching her, a bottle held tightly in her fist.

Laissez le bon temps roulez! 

Roughly translated, it means: “let the good times rule.” 

The French saying comes alive during Mardi Gras.

Surely,  Mardi Gras must be good for the economy, right?

Tell that to the short-staffed nurses 

(since many of their co-workers call in sick with the Mardi Gras Flu

as they struggle in the E.R.'s and the I.C.U's dealing with the aftermath of those good times.

The jobs that support Mardi Gras in particular 

and tourism in general tend to be service industry positions that oftentimes do not pay high wages.

In fact, frequently the wages are so low 

that employees have to work multiple jobs to keep the lights on and the cupboards from going bare.

My supervisor long since stopped taking his young daughters to the parades 

since one was knocked down to the sidewalk by an adult lunging to catch cheap beads --

and his other daughter had her ankle mangled by a stomping foot of a drunken reveler. 

Mardi Gras 
has become a sad term to me.