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Sunday, 3 January 2010



File:Halloween chicken.jpg

Not under pressure of a private grief,
Oh for but a few years yet of useful

Life, for all's complete once your rat

Race is run, that's how things go, no one prescribes to

Or gets to presume to order life
Around as though it were a sort of waitress race

Sister Life has better things to do than wait
Around in the wings for her part

In the next act of your however
Interesting meditative history


Waitress serving at restaurant counter while wearing Halloween chicken costume, Leroy's Restaurant, Monrovia, California (original caption: "D.K. made fine chicken, but there was something vaguely creepy about ordering eggs..."): photo by Ross Berteig, 2002

Mason's Cafe: truck driver, sailor and waitress at highway coffee shop on US 90 in Southern Louisiana: photo by John Vachon, 1943 (Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Collection, Library of Congress)



What 'poignant' stuff here --

"Oh for but a few years yet of useful

Life, for all's complete once your rat
Race is run."

-- and those two photos! Sense of time passing, made (can it be) more moving as the year passes forward, one into the next. Something in today's that might 'connect' ("basic spatial meaning/ . . . something which/ is to be, in practice". . . .


grey light coming into sky above blackness
of ridge, waning white moon beside branch
on foreground, sound of waves in channel

this moment light and shade,
basic spatial meaning

in a sense, something which
is to be, in practice

silver of sunlight reflected in channel,
shadowed canyon of ridge across from it

~otto~ said...

Life as waitress ... I have definitely been guilty of placing my order and then complained about the service. My mistake indeed.

Anonymous said...

Stumbling across your blog is an interesting blip in my own personal meditative history. I'm writing a novel with a character who was a young poet in San Francisco in the early sixties. She's obsessed with Tam. I needed an image of a Tam sunrise for a description. A post of yours with a Tam sunset popped up on the first page of Google images.

What a great surprise-- your blog in general and the poem about Tam in particular (Hers continues, like a music without notes,unless you really strain your ears to hear them, and maybe even then)

I'm tearing myself away now (Sister Life insists), but I can't wait to read the rest of the poems and the great images that accompany them. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

See this is what I have missed. Those run on of words. Those words that seem to chase after the other so effortlesly.Those words that tell it how it is, with no frilly skirts.
Why do we always feel like so, this time of year? I am thinking, there must be more to life than living!

Hello Thomas *dance* *waves* *throws Daisies* *giggles*

Anonymous said...

we all take
orders thinking we
dont have to
follow them

add up your checks
count out the change
clean the counter
for tomorrows rush

sorry folks
its closing time

u.v.ray. said...

Ahh, the waitress. How we all need them. It so often disgusts me, how I hear people speak to them.

Your poem so much more poingant than my own glib observations:

every now
and then
you catch me
with such
little glances;
those warm
olive-green eyes
intoxicate me
over sweet cappuccino
in the morning.

TC said...


Well, poignant would be sweet.

(...the poet's repeated error of running Sister Life ragged.)

Your reflective inter-stanzas today remind me that it's the contrastives of light and shade, silver and black, sun and shadow that may create the sustaining energy which insists on making each day of the sequence a new greeting from Sister Life.

TC said...


We have this little/big crime in common. It's when the fly in the soup starts to look bigger than the soup that the real worry sets in.

But: because you have a big warehouse to fill with Sister Life, and because I just couldn't resist...

TC said...


Very nice to hear from you, and I can easily understand why your character is obsessed with the great talismanic presence Mt. Tam. Our happiest days were spent in her embracing shadow...

She has been a semi-regular guest ... here she awakens one morning in December.

And here, at the bottom of a post about a poet who loved to walk her trails with his small dog back in those days when the world was young, she is seen from Bolinas Beach, with pelican.

Good luck with your novel, I'm sure it will be wonderful. Do stop by again.

TC said...

Hello SarahA, so happy you are returning for the new year, this world of strange phantoms was never going to be the same without you.

And I should have known we would soon by graced by your effervescent presence when I made this comment last night on the post below this one:

"To each her/his own universe.

"Some nights I wish mine had a door in the wall that opened into that dancing universe next door..."

So perhaps the door was there all along, just too small for me to make it out. And you have popped in. So that we may again *dance*.

Perhaps indeed there is more to life than living, but whatever that "more" is, I'm afraid living has all my attention right now, so that other thing is just going to have to wait outside the door yet awhile.

So lovely to be talking with you again...

TC said...


Time's winged chariot pulls up at our unregarding lunch counter, we say "Nobody here called a cab."

TC said...


You were always going to have the edge on me for self-deprecation, but I would argue that in this instance the glib selfregarding one is me, with my platitudes, and the true lyricist of the waitress is you, with your beautiful capture of the reality of the moment of those olive-green eyes.


Tom, ah yes, " light and shade, silver and black, sun and shadow," an attempt to make "each day . . . a new greeting from Sister Life."


PS. Beautiful photos of the Mountain linked here -- and that beautiful running-at-dawn poem, thanks!

~otto~ said...

Hahahaha. Awesome, Tom. I never pegged you for a Tech N9ne fan.

Anonymous said...

Tom, thanks for the links. Beautiful posts, all three. I love the Jim Carroll one especially, and the insight into his days on Tam. I think it would be hard for anyone to walk the mountain and not find some measure of transcendence and peace. I don't know why I never read Basketball Diaries because I love the poems I've seen of his, love the stories that filtered out of Bolinas about him way back then, and I love basketball. "...can't match the perfect pass for insight into the mysterious" indeed.

At the risk of overusing the love word (which should be allowed, I think), I love Bolinas too even though I'm from the other side of the mountain--a long-term (nearly 40 years) Fairfax person who just moved up to Sonoma. I greatly miss Tam at my doorstep.

Looking forward to continue reading your blog. It's like I've been given a new book!

Anonymous said...

What an interesting comparison... I guess we should all learn or at least try a little bit self-service instead of placing orders for life to serve some dish or other...

Radish King said...

Sister Life indeed, beautiful and with tender respect as things should be. I just this week gave my son a signed Jim Carroll book, The Book of Nods. I parcel these books to him as gifts my beloved things everything to him (except my violin he gets that when I'm dead and it will make him wealthy) he appreciates so much it is joyful on both our parts. Those who serve those who are on their feet all day those who feel the eyes traveling across their asses when they are scurrying with the coffee those Goddesses. Thank you.

TC said...

That's lovely Rebecca, Jim would be touched. (Have you and your son seen this I wonder?)

Sister Life, we don't deserve her, so why do we treat her so badly?