Planet Clapton

He’d been around, of course.  I was the one not paying attention.

In those early years, as he moved from the increasingly commercialized Yardbirds to John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers, I was being introduced to Tom Paxton and Lead Belly. While I practiced my 12-string, Cream (Jack Bruce, Ginger Baker, and Clapton) came and went in just two years, disbanding a few months before Woodstock. 

After Cream, Clapton formed a new group.  Derek and the Dominos released Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs in December of 1970. A tale first told by the Persian poet Nizami, the story of Layla and Majnun became one of rock’s definitive love songs: its famously contrasting movements composed separately by Clapton and Jim Gordon. (more…)

The Sirius Season

If you needed a poster child for the dog days of summer, Jake would do just fine. Jake lives on a boat tied up to a dock that I frequent, and it’s clear that he hates July.  He doesn’t like the heat, he doesn’t like the humidity, and he especially doesn’t like the fact that he’s not allowed to spend his entire day inside the boat.

I know what he’s thinking. With access to air conditioning, he could take over the settee in the main salon, chew on his bone and nap away the afternoon in cool comfort. Instead, he’s forced to spend part of his day lying in the cockpit, on top of the cabin or on the dock, where he quietly sulks. He has a sunshade, water, and occasional breezes wafting about, but still – he isn’t happy.

He wasn’t particularly happy in June, either, and probably won’t cheer up in August or even September. He’s been through this before and knows he’s condemned to endure dog days and dog nights until October, when summer on the Gulf Coast of Texas will have run its course. (more…)

Published in: on July 28, 2013 at 1:28 pm  Comments (92)  
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Watching Comet Lulin

I love the night sky: the star-pictures of the constellations, the waxing and waning of the moon, the great wash of the galaxies.  This week’s close passage of Comet Lulin, a beautiful and spectacular – and scientifically interesting – bit of celestial wonder simply couldn’t be passed by.  Last Tuesday night, the evening of Lulin’s closest approach, I spent two hours lying in my parking lot with a pair of binoculars, drinking it in.  As it turned out, I didn’t watch alone.  Calliope, my stray Muse-kitty took time from her nightly rounds to keep me company.  The poem is my way of holding on to the experience, even as Lulin streams off into the mysterious reaches of space.


Watching Lulin

Green-eyed and aloof,
you prowl down heaven’s alleys      
and lurk on Saturn’s doorstep with singular elegance,
a celestial stray hungry for attention.
Prone beneath your pathway,
stretched across a concrete bed with curbstone for a pillow
I squint and ponder,
consult the charts
and probe your space through time
until I feel the tug
and hear the tiny, worried voice.
An earthling stray has found her friend,
her food,
her solace
not rising tall against the sky but flattened to the ground,
eyes turned upward,
head bent back as though the victim of a fall.
Green eyes flashing,
she nudges at my pillowed head upon the curb,
pushes back my dismissive hand.
Earthbound, insistent,
she bites and tugs my hair as though to pull me upright,
restore her world’s axis
and right a universe gone mad.
Leaving Lulin to her flight
I reach out to grasp this nearer world passing by.
“Look up,”  I murmur as I run my fingers through her fur
and catch the glint of starlight in her eyes.
“A thousand years.”
“A thousand years.”

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Published in: on February 25, 2009 at 11:40 pm  Comments (13)  
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Arc to Arcturus

This post has been re-written and re-published under the title Arcing to Arcturus. Clicking the link will take you there.