When the wind is strong

When the wind is strong,
The earth seems like someone’s kite.
But as it is still high noon,
Men notice that night is already there.

The wind uses no words,
But only frets as it swirls about.
I think of the winds on other starts,
Whether they could be friends together.

On the earth, there is night, there is day.
Between them, what are the stars doing?
Silent, spreading. How do they endure?

In the daylight, the blue sky tells lies.
While the night mutters the truth, we are asleep.
And in the morning, we say we dreamed.

– Shuntaro Tanikawa

I’ve changed completely

I’ve changed completely
Yes I’m wearing the same tie as yesterday
I’m as poor as yesterday
As useless as yesterday
Even so I’ve changed completely.
Yes I’m wearing the same clothes as yesterday
I’m as blind drunk as yesterday
As clumsy as yesterday
Even so I’ve changed completely

Faced with all the half smiles and grins
Curled sneers and guffaws
I shut my eyes tight and stay still
Fluttering through me towards tomorrow
Goes a beautiful white butterfly

Saburo Kuroda (1919-1980)


Words words


Makoto Ooka

I keep on vacant land
A horse which none can see
Now and again grasping the reins
I go to meet a twelfth-century Zen priest
He lived for eight hundred years
There is no trace of his body
His body has turned into words
Soon even the words will be gone
Until then a temporary home
Borrowing the eaves of words
‘Flowers open and the world arises’
When he says this
He is the flowers opening he is the world arising
As words within words along with words
Opening and closing
Floating and sinking
Born killed
Continuing as words
Continuing to live inside words
Unable to die
While words exist on earth
He turns into rocks wheels love
He transforms into blood sky calendar
As so he must continue to be tortured
By the painful recognition that he is the world’s equal
What is it that is painful
There is no pain like
That of words become flesh
That mankind does not feel it as pain
Is because they do not truly feel the flesh
Says the withered priest.

– Makoto Ooka

Makoto Ooka once pointed out that the modus operandi of traditional Japanese poetry is a dynamism between two conflicting mindsets: one that is willing to let go of one’s ego and create harmony with others, and another that pursues ultimate solitude, what he called a sort of “party” attended by “lonely hearts” — Utage to Koshin.

Don’t Get Around Much Anymore

I heard this song the other day and it seemed appropriate for these sequestered days. None of us are getting around much anymore.

Duke Ellington wrote the music and first recorded it with his orchestra in 1940 with the title Never No Lament. Two years later Bob Russell (born Sidney Keith Rosenthal) wrote the lyrics and it quickly became a hit, reaching number one on the US R&B Charts for both Duke Ellington and the Ink Spots. It has been recorded by a diverse group of artists including Tony Bennett, Nat King Cole, Paul McCartney, and Willie Nelson but nobody ever sang it better than Sam Cooke.

dukesam cooke

Missed the Saturday dance
Heard they crowded the floor
Couldn’t bear it without you
Don’t get around much anymore

I thought I’d visit the club
Got as far as the door
They’d have asked me about you
Don’t get around much anymore

Darling, I guess that my mind’s more at ease
But nevertheless, why stir up memories?

Been invited on dates
Might have gone, but what for?
Awfully different without you
Don’t get around much anymore

Little Richard (1932 – 2020)

The first time I ever got up on stage to sing and play guitar was October 15, 1981 at the Copper Fox Tavern in Oneonta, NY. It was a requirement of the guitar class I was taking in college. I played three songs. Two of them were original, and if the scrawled notes on my old cassette are accurate, they were called Restitution’s Final Reprise and Paranoic Foibles. I have no memory of either of them. The final song I played is one I will never forget. It was Slippin’ and Slidin’, written and originally recorded by Richard Penniman, better known as Little Richard.

Photo of Little RICHARD

I never met him or saw him play but he was always there, like air and water, inescapable and seemingly inexhaustible. Sadly, the shell that (barely) contained him has been exhausted now. There never was, or will be, anyone like Little Richard. Not even the armies of rock’n’rollers who followed him and changed the world by emulating his weird, sweet, sexy energy.

Listen to this crazy shit from 19-fucking-57: