The November Haiku Challenge continues.
I decided best to post once a week… I was doing the everyday for the first three days but now here are days four through seven. I will post on the usual Tuesday.
acting like Quasimodo
hiding in my room
another sleepless night
Keurig illuminates blue
there’s no dignity
living on social security
and scrounge to survive
safe place lost to me
Hillcrest Drive fades in distance
my childhood ends there
Zack Hoffman 2017
snow falls this morning
the pace of the world slows down
crisp winter arrives
Zack Hoffman 2017
A haiku a day for the next thirty days. One of the members of the League of Poets has thrown down the gauntlet and I am picking it up.
Here’s what she wrote
“I want to state for the record that haiku is an ancient, elegant, Japanese poetic form. Masters of haiku capture the beauty of nature and subtle truths of the human soul in perfect little pinafores of words. The form is inimitable in English.
So for the next thirty days I will be crapping all over the tradition by writing three-lined poems, syllabled 5-7-5, like we all did in third grade. They will be about whatever stupid thing is happening in my life. I’m sorry.
But in the past, poetic constraints have brought out good things in me. I love writing sonnets because when I have a mandated structure to box me in, I am forced to be creative in my word choices. So in November, I’m going to make the box even smaller.
If I get one or two interesting poems out of the deal, it’ll be worth it. So I’ll give it a go.
So here I go. Such a long intro for three lines of poetry.
my heart is broken
the world series epic battle
ruined by racism
In Memory of Craig Aspen
I was blindsided last week by the tragic and senseless death of my friend Craig Aspen.
I take a breathe and say this with a very heavy heart.
Craig Aspen is gone. Rest in Peace my brother.
I write this as my emotions swirl like a storm. I can only hope the love spills out on to the page. Craig Aspen was my friend. For a decade and a half we trudged a road, an adventure. My tattooed friend who twinkled with New York moxie behind his mustache. We were artists, shared that common bond of having to reinvent ourselves to stay in this business we loved. Craig was so talented as a musician, a song writer and behind a camera. And yet there was a time decade plus ago he hocked his Mandolin for Heroin. The bravado got in the way of the surrender. But like in the old west the Earp Brothers saddled up and found Craig. They saw the surrender in his eyes. He went to Kirkland and spent 4 weeks being renewed. The surrender had stuck. We would all meet up at Saint Paul’s church in Ballard. Early in the morning. I can still see that beat up van pull into the gravel parking lot. On several occasions a bunch of us would go over to Chad’s house for pancakes and bacon. There was a lot of laughter. He got a tool box and started to repair the past. He was available, for his friends and family, for the woman he loved.
I remember a couple of years after the surrender I was at the Tractor Tavern in Ballard watching the Believers play. I was filled with joy watching my friends play music. Half way through the set Craig turned around and walked toward the back of the stage. He pulled out the mandolin he had hocked and started to play. Tears streamed down my face as the song progressed. I was filled with hope, I was filled with joy, my heart burst open.
He loved one woman in his life and that was Cynthia. I saw it back in the day when he helped Cynthia with the catering. When they were in the living room of the house in Seattle. I saw it when they were on stage together, there would be a glance during a song or prolonged eye contact during a harmony. I saw it every time they were together. He said to me once, “I am blessed that I am here and I get to be with the prettiest girl at the dance.” I don’t think Craig ever stopped loving Cynthia. Even when madness took him from us.
Where did that tool box go? I don’t know. I will never know. I miss my friend, his kindness, his spirit. In the end the countryside is littered with railroad spikes, shotgun shells and drunken poets.
Rest in Peace
Final preparations are being made to revisit Eternia. Emails with arrangements at airports. Rides to the light rail in Seattle. I’ve watched the clips posted on line, video of the show and the soundtrack audio. Remembered people and places of a time long ago. Contacted old friends for reunions in the coming days. I remember while being on tour someone found a button that said, “Just Visiting This Planet”.
We all loved it. Soon all the cast members and crew were sporting buttons. We were a mighty team, that was just visiting this planet called Eternia and all too soon we were sent back to our lives before we had known of He-Man She-Rah and the Masters of the Universe.
I thought that all I had left was those memories until I went to get sharpies for signing photos. I found the tackle box that I bought as my makeup kit on the road. Scratched, stained and battered it has survived all these thirty years.
There was a time when it was filled with bottles of spirit gum, a collection of Man-at-Arms mustaches, sponges, brushes, eyebrow pencils, makeup, powder and some removal products. Now it is a treasure chest of odds and ends from the last 30 years. Foreign coins, a Hopalong Cassidy pen knife from my old roommate, mementos from stage shows past, lanyards from comicons and conventions and of course a collection of highlighters and sharpies.
Two stickers of logo of the show remains on the case, still shiny but worn with time. Reminds me of me.
I hope you will join me on Eternia. Come by and say hello.
Power-Con happens on Saturday September 9th & Sunday September 10th at the Torrance Marriott Redondo Beach 3635 Fashion Way Torrance, CA 90503.
Power-Con website: http://www.thepower-con.com/
A Trip to Eternia
30 years ago, I was touring with a sword and sorcery musical version of He-Man She-Rah and the Masters of the Universe. In ten days, I will get a chance to talk about that tour for the first time and get to see some old friends. I got to play Man at Arms, the second banana to He-Man and She-rah. It was a job that took across the United States and into Canada for over a year. I am proud of my work and even more proud of the cast and crew that surrounded me. We brought it every show. Thrilling children, bringing to life their television cartoon heroes and sending the message that “you can be the hero of your own life if only you believe in yourself.”
This is such an important message for our world today. He-man, She-rah and the Masters of the Universe need to saddle up and spread the word again. I would volunteer to do the show again. Unfortunately, this cowboy is not equipped to ride a fifty-pound neoprene suit across this earthly landscape. I will turn that over to talented people who are much younger and adventurous. I have put down my sword.
What I did pick up is my computer mouse and edited a small moment of the show which I will share with you here.
If you are a fan of the show I am looking forward to meeting you and talking Power Tour ’87 memories.
A Thursday morning post.
On Saturday, I was in an auto accident. Hit from behind. It’s strange when you don’t see it coming. Can’t prepare. Can’t brace yourself. After the impact, it was like an out of body experience, seeing me flail forward and then jerk back as the loud shattering bang rang in my ears. Now the job is self-care. Rest and healing. Seeking the doctors and insurance adjusters, mechanics and parade of automobiles. How long will it take to put the pieces back together?
The attempt to get back to the practice of writing. Finding words, finding my voice. I will put on the headset and continue to transpose. My time shortened as I am gentle with myself.
Took my first poetry workshop in many years. It was scary and fun and a chance to connect.
I leave you with one of the poems I created. See you next week.
I am weary of this world
but you will be my girl
who will say that I’m not quite obsolete
even in the end
you will be my facebook friend
schooling foodies on the hippest place to eat
wearing purple blue and green
you dance the serpentine
and flail erotic while I’m on my knees
with a long-surrendered shout
my tattered soul comes out
I iron it so it becomes pristine
you will bite it with your teeth
I will bleed to get relief
we are vagabonds who travel without dreams
I help you with your words
you say “aging’s for the birds”
I kiss you before you start to lie
fearless to undress
with your head upon my chest
morning makes you glisten in my eye
Zack Hoffman 2017
Late for the blog this week…like being late for the party. Here is my week…
The definition of overwhelm: to overpower in mind or feeling.
There is a great disarray of writing in my life. Poems unfinished. Two different long writes in different states of incompleteness. Late for the blog post. No relief in sight. But I push on. It’s what we do. I am continually grateful for Natalie Goldberg’s “Writing Down the Bones”. She constantly reminds me that I am not here to be perfect. I am here to write. That it’s okay to write the biggest pile of crap the world has ever seen and call it good (not that I want to). All I need to do is put pen to paper. So once again, thanks Natalie.
Yesterday I sat with a small group of brave people at the Vios Café in Ravenna and wrote for 45 minutes…then we read, our voices were heard. It was beautiful, it was clumsy, it was poignant, it was disjointed, it was elegant but most of all it was our truth for that moment in time. I heard a friend say this morning, “I am going to try and be where my feet are today.” Me too!
Read this book.
Zack Hoffman 2017