The Lighter Side of JzB

Here you will find photos, poetry, and possibly some light-hearted foolishness. For the Heavier Side
of JzB
see my other blog,
Retirement Blues. (There be dragons!)

I claim copyright and reserve all rights for my original material of every type and genre.

Every day visits*
From Moose, Goose, and Orb Weaver
All seized by Haiku

"Why moose and goose?" you may ask. Back on 2/04/13 Pirate wrote a haiku with an elk in it, and I responded with
one with a moose and then included him every day. A few days later in comments Mystic asked "Where's the goose?"
So I started including her with this post on 2/07. A week later on the 14th, Mark Readfern
asked for and received a spider. The rest is history.

*Well, most days, anyway. Grant me a bit of poetic license.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Carpe Diem #675

I'll admit that sometimes - OK, often - poetry baffles me.  So it was with yesterday's CD entry.  I simply could not wrap my head around it.  The inspirational poem was totally opaque to me, and I couldn't find any way to relate.  Today, the painting, as odd as it is, gives me something to grab onto. 

My impression: I do find this picture to be quite illusionary, evocative, and perhaps even elusive.  Where does one house end and the next begin?  How many structures are there?  The roof lines in particular seem almost surreal, the perspective is weirdly off kilter, and the lighting seems unnatural.

None of this is intended as criticism - it's just an accounting of how the picture strikes me. 

amid the lush fields
of the sunny countryside
a shadowed manor


this old rambling house
what mysteries does it hold
in its shadowed halls


under the thatched eaves
in the deep purple shadows
orb weaver's secret


who would imagine
van gogh as a house painter
what a big surprise


all those stars and fields
why did van gogh never paint
a moose and a goose


Wednesday, February 25, 2015

L.A. Times Crossword puzzle Blogging

 Wednesday, February 25, 2015  Jeffrey Wechsler

Theme: ROLE PLAYING IN A WELL STAGED PUZZLE.  Common movie or theater roles are humorously recast [so to speak] as belonging to people in appropriately considered occupations.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Carpe Diem Haiku Writing Techniques #8

I love this example:

just one leaf
struggles with the wind
like Basho

© Chèvrefeuille


My thoughts:

shining green gecko
between the tree and the grass
hunting the cricket


learn about the rose
ponder its lovely blossoms
ponder its thorns


the secret ingredient
in light beer

 © JzB


The 2/24 Tuesday Platform


On 50 Shades

I had 50 hot cups today
Of milky and sweet Earl Grey,
‘Cuz that’s what it took

To get through this book.
Now babe are you ready to play?

On 50 Shades of Gumby

I’d say it’s nifty and keen
To get kinky with someone who’s green
But I’d prefer a fuzz muppet 
To a clammy clay puppet
It’s more cozy, ya know what I mean

On and on

The cat couldn’t hack up his fur ball
After he swallowed the gerbil
He gets no relief
As he struggles to breath
And he’s turning 50 shades of purple

Summa Appoligica

These modern times most poets won’t
Object to rhymes made on a slant
Keep everything right 
With rhythm that’s tight
And rhyming can be nicely bent

On learning the word "doggo"

My doggie avoids every fight
‘Cuz fights give him such a bad fright

So he’ll always try
To carefully lie
Doggo in the still of the night

On trading verses with Mad Kane on Facebook

I’m dancing with Maddie Begun
Kane and we’re having such fun
Tripping light and airy
With vocabulary
Now that the beguine has begun

That's all folks

Imaginary Garden With Real Toads

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Carpe Diem # 672 and Imaginary Garden Play It again #14

If any of my Imaginary Garden peeps are interested in haiku I highly recommend Chèvrefeuille's Carpe Diem Haiku Kai.   This month we are exploring impressionist paintings, and today's selection is “Sonce” (Sun) by Slovenian impressionist Rihard Jakopič (1869-1943).

Obviously, the I G archive challenge I've chosen is Grace's Old Pond from 2/15/12.  
The key idea this painting is chosen to illustrate is Summer.  I am keying on the sun as a summer kigo.  Also, I'll point out a couple of other haiku techniques.  In English language haiku the cutting word is often implied by what is known as phrase and fragment structure.   With this approach, between the phrase and fragment is an implies caesura, and grammar, as such, is not particularly important.  In fact, a specific goal is to avoid a 17 syllable run-on sentence.  Another goal in an elegant haiku is first-third line interchangeability.  The idea is that if you read the lines in reverse order, the ideas and images persist.   I'll try to illustrate that with my group of three examples.  A haiku should also suggest a deeper meaning.  I'm not sure I've achieved that.

Here's a remarkable summer song that I'll pay homage to along the way.

Here are three haiku with very different takes on the summer sun.

in the cotton fields
black men stooped under the sun
work does not make free


as the bright sun proves
sumer is icumin in
sing lusty cuckoo


sun’s bright morning light
over blooms and my window
lazy bee hovers


Friday, February 20, 2015

Carpe Diem Time Machine #4

This prompt is from November, 2012.

Paloma gives us a painting by Van Gogh.

Vincent Van Gogh.  Langlois Bridge at Arles with Women Washing, 1888. Wikimedia.

 My inspired haiku doesn't quite work, I think.   Maybe I still want nudes.

by yellow bridge arch
on the water round ripples
shoreline lady’s curves


There is a clump of yellow crocuses that emerges in our yard every spring, with one purple interloper.  In keeping with the Time Machine concept, here's a picture I took in March, 2012.  These blooms are so fragile and transitory, I'm concerned that March, 2015 will be very rude to them.

 Do you see the honey bee?

  these ephemeral blooms
shining in their brief beauty
  a bee hovers near

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Imaginary Garden February List

From grapeling:

I got to thinking how close yet how far some words are, and started thinking of pairs that share a root, as it were, but not necessarily a sense. So not tense/intense, which are closely related, but... well, these:

miss / remiss
deem / redeem
wager / dowager
pulse / repulse
file / defile
peat / repeat
sent / absent

Your challenge is to select at least 2 of these pairs - or come up with a pair of pairs of your own, words that share common spelling but not common meaning - and weave them into a *new* poem, however you please.


Well, I'm in limerick mode.  I hope weaving them into two separate, unconnected verses doesn't violate the terms too severely.


The snake thought that he'd be remiss
To not tempt the lovey young miss
So he did his foul duty,
Enticed with things fruity;
And she gave Adam's apple a kiss


The dowager wanted to gamble
So to the casino she’d amble
And wager on red
Till her coin purse was dead
Then beat it home in a mad scramble


Carpe Diem Special #133

From Paloma:

For today, we return to our featured poet, Fuyuko Tomita. Here is a wonderful tanka I think we can all relate to:


Sansan to/ sosogu asahi no/fuzukue ni/ nokosu mikan no/ uta zo samishiki

How lonely I would be
left behind on my desk
an unfinished poem
in the glorious morning sun  

© Fuyuko Tomita 


I do have an unfinished poem haunting me, but that is not likely to be resolved any time soon.  And that is not what this poem makes me think of.  Instead it's the idea of loneliness itself.

My mother-in-law passed away in January two years ago.  She spent the last few months of her life in a nursing home.  It was not a happy place.   My lovely wife made a round trip of about 150 miles almost every other day to see her, and check on her situation and care.   There were many people there living out their last days who never had a visitor.  

she sits on her bed
nurses coming and going
making duty rounds

one more sunday afternoon
 nobody comes to visit


My other thought was of a loveless marriage.  Ever have one of those?  I did once.  It is the most exquisite agony.

the worst loneliness
feeling left out and ignored
when you’re with someone

in the cold hard marriage bed
two people with their backs turned


Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Tree Word Wednesady #415

Today's Words:


In my view, all of human history displays two overarching themes:
1) warfare,
2) the desire of a small privileged elite group of leeches to dominate the rest of the population.

These both result from greed.  To the greedy, no amount is ever enough.  Whatever you have, they want, and they are coming to get it.

sober assessment
when will we evolve enough
to be content

Carpe Diem #671

~~ my impressions ~~

girl with a bouquet
among the pleasure seekers
thinking about love


in the tree shadow
under the umbrellas
shades of meaning


ignoring others
in the colonnade of trees
two lovers walking


at the water's edge
on this sunny afternoon

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Carpe Diem Writing Techniques #7

So the essence is simple ego-free humility coupled with the authenticity that comes of noble aging.

At some visceral level, I think I get it.  Perhaps being deep into my 7th decade helps.

Kristjaan maintains that this is also the essence of haiku.


the morning's snow
i can chew dried salmon

© Basho

in the backyard
of my ancestor's mansion
roses still bloom

© Chèvrefeuille


What I do not see in either of these - nor in many other fine haiku - is a moment as short as the sound of a pebble thrown in water.  Surely one cannot chew dried salmon in that quick manner.  So - what you may have is an extended moment, but one that is imbued with some special characteristics that might even suggest a deeper meaning.

In the second example we have the antithesis of a brief moment - something that is in fact timeless.  I think that is wonderful.

And that it, too, hints at wabi-sabi.

in these old pictures
you and i were so young
and now this moment


It also reminds me of this sculpture by Rodin.  It was mentioned in passing in a Robert Heinline novel I read decades ago, and was delighted to find the relevant passage - and a picture of the subject sculpture here.   For some reason this passage stayed with me over the long years.  I'm not sure Jubel Harshaw's exposition on the sculpture quite gets at wabi-sabi, but it at least hits the right corner of the universe.


Getting rid of ego is something I struggle with.   Playing the trombone is humbling - but still.  For the past year or so I've been doing something I haven't done since high school - practicing semi-diligently, specifically with the goal of developing a more extensive, secure and reliable high register.   I may be giving in to ego, but I want to share with you a moment from last month where I performed one of the iconic trombone songs from the swing era. An old man, old horn, and old song coming together - a bit of sabi, perhaps.   It's not perfect, but a year ago, I wouldn't have thought this possible.

my old king trombone
it’s finish spotted with age
still hits the high notes


LOVE in the Imaginary Garden

OK, then - a poem of love, that strange, mysterious primal life influence.  And one that is, to a fair degree, the story of my life.  Now you know.

I wrote this several years ago, - obviously a pastiche with a boat load of pirated iconic source material, stitched together with my own unique blend of herbs and spices, - and just reconstituted it from memory.  Some things just stay with you.


When do I love thee - let me count the days:
One day in love’s first incomplete caress
When we were young and in young carelessness
Lost love we thought, we didn’t know the ways

Love comes, and goes, then comes again and stays.
Away you went, and I, or we, to press
Another plight, a troth, and then loveless,
Distressed returned to love at last in May’s

Warm glow surprised we loved on that day too:
Love ever fixed, not shaken, now we chose
To measure our souls’ reach and passion through
True minds quiet needs and old griefs lose.

The best is yet to be, our one from two
Now we have time and all the world to use.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Carpe Diem #670

 "  .  .  .  Cézanne moved away from the traditional presentation of paintings, intentionally creating works which would not appeal to the novice viewer. He did this in order to avoid fleeting fads and give a timeless quality to his work  .  .  ."

 the lure of water
the alluring female form
these things are timeless

indistinct faces
 i can so clearly see
bare breasts and buttocks


to be like water
lapping at your bosom curves
flowing through your thighs

Imaginary Garden

 "You can if you wish simply write about an experience or day or object that seems particularly promising, or unpromising; a poem, if you will, about anticipation or disappointment.:" 

"Zero - that's nothing." A harsh winter quip
from an old man long gone
as snow flies in the canine dental wind.

But such memories he had
of sun-sered sandy beaches
thorn-stemmed roses, cooling rain.

"Don't despair," he admonished, "Summer is coming."

distilled to a haiku

snow and howling wind
in the beak depth of winter
the promise of spring

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Carpe Diem #669

I was walking along the road with two friends
the sun was setting
suddenly the sky turned blood red
I paused, feeling exhausted, and leaned on the fence
there was blood and tongues of fire above the blue-black fjord and the city
my friends walked on, and I stood there trembling with anxiety
and I sensed an infinite scream passing through nature.

© Edvard Munch

Not all art is to be liked, in the sense that it is pleasant or comforting.  There is a place for that.  But there is also a place for the eerie, the disturbing, the square root of nightmares, and this panting certainly qualifies in that regard.

The mis-shapen androgynous face is weirdly reflected by light colored regions [tongues of fire?] both above and to the right.  The walk-way and the railing are realistically rendered; the two apparently nonchalant walkers in the distance more in the manner of traditional impressionism, and these things only heighten the strangeness of both the central focal figure and everything else in the background.

I didn't know the story behind The Scream and somehow I've always associated it with Picasso's Guernica.   So, I see in it an anti-war statement that Munch probably never intended.  But what more than mankind's greatest evil, with all it's collateral damage on life and mother earth could evoke this scream?

I find this idea reinforced in both the surreal turbulence of water and the tortured bleeding sky.

this dying planet
plagued with murder rape and war
screams along with you

Carpe Diem Time Glass #21

fog can make the world seem surreal, and that's what i'm going for here

also i'm thnking of the weirdly mysterious scene in a dance with dragons when theon/reek encounters the hooded man

as the fog rolls in
i see faces approaching
one of them is mine

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Carpe Diem Sparkling Stars #18

the train picks up speed,
in a paper coffee cup
concentric waves

the river always
out there in the dark
late train home

coming home
on the train
... the backyards

(c) John Stevenson
laborers toiling
under the blaze of the sun
to lay down the track
on the tracks
red disappearing
last caboose
(c) JzB


Carpe Diem #668

Strange that DREAM should come up just now.  Earlier today I learned about the SEVENLING at Mama Zen's place.   So I tried my hand at one.  It's about Bran Stark's coma dream in his third chapter from A Game of Thrones, the first book in G.R.R. Martin's series A Song of Ice and Fire.

In Bran’s fever dream:
one rush to earth, two sisters
[visions from the three eyed crow;]

three shadows;
two boys grown - Stark steel, ice cold Snow;
free cities, bleak Vaes Dothrak, shadowy Asshai.

But in the cold, dead heart of Winter, what thought of dragons?

Distilled to a senryu

a broken child’s dream
of his family’s tragedies
all in prophesy


A dream painting to contemplate -

The Dream - Henri Rousseau, 1910

my impression

so peaceful a dream
but there is danger lurking
in the dark shadows

Rousseau explains it with this poem:

Yadwigha in a beautiful dream
Having fallen gently to sleep
Heard the sounds of a reed instrument
Played by a well-intentioned [snake] charmer.
As the moon reflected
On the rivers [or flowers], the verdant trees,
The wild snakes lend an ear
To the joyous tunes of the instrument.

my distillation

naked polish girl
in a moon-lit jungle dream
wakes to snakes dancing

Friday, February 13, 2015

Carpe Diem Special # 132

Kantooka  magatte shimatta  magarikado

Under a cold
street lamp
I’ve just turned
the corner

© Fuyuko Tomita


turning the corner
lamp light fades in the distance
where am i going


leaving the harbor
high waves and strong wind ahead
uncharted waters


Thursday, February 12, 2015

Carpe Diem #667

I wanted to take a stab at the acrostic haiku, using TULIPS as the root word, but couldn't come up with a connecting liaison.   So I put together two [sort of] connected 3/5/3 haiku with the Letters of TULIPS starting each line.  This image that Kristjann posted caught my eye.

tulips hide
under fallen snow
lie in wait

in tulips
people find symbols
so kiss  me

Not very good, I'm afraid.

My experience with tulips in the garden is that they are very fragile and one storm will knock off the petals, leaving at best ragged, battered flowers.    This leaves me with a wabi sabi impression.

delicate tulips
a morning of wind and rain
reduced to bare stems

Is Love a Tender Thing in the Imaginary Garden

For a suitable thorn and flower visual, I'll refer you to MMT's recent post.

i saw her today
that girl i once loved

years ago when we were young
chaste foolish catholic kids

nobody planned this
i turned and there she was

a muddle of memories
joy and pain the awful pain

heartbreak that was long ago
so why do i feel this longing inside

those agonizing memories
let me go i’m leaving now

and then she smiled

Imaginary Garden With Real Toads

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Carpe Diem # 666 and Three Word Wednesday No 414

my first impression

in the poppy field
burning with a russet glow
no need for sunset

a more light hearted impression

down the poppy slope
that girl catching my eye
she impresses me

today's words:

i took the challenge of forcing these works into a quasi-ku, 
which drove a dark turn into the opium trade

devious ladies
[each smile an inverted frown]
pick venomous buds

L. A. Times Crossword Puzzle Blogging

Wednesday, February 11  Peter A. Collins

Theme: "WHY, WHY?" you wonder.  Let us consult the WISE MEN.   I'll defer the complete explanation till we get to the unifier.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Carpe Diem Writing Techniques #6

These concepts are not easily definable.  
Nor can I explain or justify why I think these senryu succeed.

at the shopping mall
alone in the corridor
teenagers pass me


as goose is molting
moose sheds last years antlers
spider eats her web

Monday, February 9, 2015

Carpe Diem #665

The Siciliana by Respighi that Kristjaan posted is from his Suite #3 of Ancient Airs and Dances, and is based on a much older anonymous piece of lute music.  It has a definite 16th century sound.

That same source also inspired Spanish composer Joaquín Rodrigo for this selection.

Fantasia para un gentilhombre

Classical guitar totally defeated me, but I once tried to play a very simple piece of music from the Book The Renaissance Guitar compiled by Frederick Noad, which is the original source music I was speaking of above.  In the book, this piece is called Spagnoletta, "Little Spanish Tune."  It is taken from an Italian manuscript sourced by the 19th century musicologist Oscar Chilesotti.

Here it is played by the master

Andres Segovia


on the sandy shore
in the sunset's fading gold
old man strums his lute


airs and dances suite
a more modern impression
of ancient music

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Wordle 198

Some Thoughts on Life Love and Pain

we‘re wound together
like brambles of a thorn bush
i will not wound you


for a brief moment
our tumble in the hay loft
i’m falling for you


my moth to your flame
scent of lust that you emit
might be pheromones


she promised her love
on a lamb’s wool filled with fleas
i was fleeced on fleece


i sang her love songs
rasping loud and out of tune
not a sound idea


after the cloud burst
in clothes all wet and clingy
she burst into tears


ink stamp on paper
this official document
does it seal our love


once like an hour glass
now so much sand has drifted
more like a tumbler


your love has wandered
I can fill that empty spot
until he returns


in a still moment
i could instill in your heart
loving thoughts for me


left for another
bring the pieces of your heart
i will comfort you


with my silliness
am i the joy of your life
or just a sad clown

Limerick Off

"I hope you’ll join me in writing a limerick using either “CLIPS” or “ECLIPSE” at the end of Line 1 or Line 2 or Line 5. (Homonyms or homophones are fine.)"

Because I take a challenge like this so very seriously  .  .  .

loony barber will only do clips
on the days of the solar eclipse
he likes to get paid in the moon’s umbral shade
by aliens in lunar space ships

Imaginary Garden - Sunday's Mini Challenge

Carilda Olivar Labra

She is a Cuban poet who wrote on philosophical and social topics, but also of love and passion.  You can read about her and see some examples of her work at the link above.

'Our challenge is to write a new poem or prose poem in response to Carilda's words."

My response is to the last one presented at the link.  No politics or war in this one; only the  .  .  .



when the tip of my tongue moistens
the tip of your sweet breast

i think of naked coquette eve
and how she enticed the serpent

it was the fruit she pleaded
its syrup cloying sticky on her chin

and adam could no more resist than gravity’s apple
plummeting headlong into boggy mother earth

that is how i fell into you crazy love-crazy
turbid salacious over-ripe and bursting with seeds

Imaginary Garden With Real Toads

Friday, February 6, 2015

Carpe Diem Time Machine Plus Imaginary Garden


UPDATE 2/11/15 for The Imaginary Garden Tuesday Platform [a day late]

Since it's all about the stage and the applause, I'll take this opportunity to blow my own horn - literally.

Imaginary Garden With Real Toads


Carpe Diem theme originally from Nov 7, 2012.

My grandson Nate is a smart, healthy boy.  He'll be 12 1/2 on Valentine's day.

But he got off to a rough start.  He was born with transposition of the great arteries - his pulmonary artery and aorta were hooked up in reverse.   So instead of a complete circulatory system, he had two closed loops.  Fortunately, this condition was observed in an ultrasound.  So he was born at Mott's Children's Hospital at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, where fixing these things is a matter of routine.

When he was born, he turned blue immediately.  But the neo-natal cardiac team was on high alert and quickly performed a radical procedure that stabilized him until the open-heart surgery could be performed a week later.

It was a success, and everything turned out well.    Which is pretty remarkable since they opened him up like a clam, and the great arteries in a newborn have about the same diameter as a pencil lead.

So I wrote this song for him.  A blues of course.  A minor blues for a little guy.  The barely audible bass riff at the beginning and end is supposed to represent a heart beat.  There is other symbolism in the song's construction, some of which was unconscious.  Trombone solo by me.

I tear up every time I tell this story.

new little blue boy
here is a song of the heart
from my horn to you

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Imaginary garden

muddy maumee river
remnant of the great black swamp
i was born along its bank
in a hospital long since abandoned

and grew up next to what
i was told was once the other bank
before it changed its course
as rivers sometimes do

that dry watercourse was a playground
its flat bottom held a football stadium
a running track and baseball diamonds
the trees on it’s sides a child's jungle

i can’t say now what formed in my mind
in those long ago formative years
what ideas flowed into me from that dry river
even today i never know what will flow out

Carpe Diem #663

venus moon and stars
seen by eyes knowing darkness
listen with your heart

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Three Word Wednesday


those nights of desire
your fingers made me shudder
why then did it wilt

Carpe Diem #662

Water Lilies

Among these lilies
in Monet’s pond
Basho’s water sound

© Sylvia Forges-Ryan & Edward Ryan


floating lotus bud
gives yellow back to the sun
green frog is silent


among lotus leaves
orb weaver spins quietly
wary of the frog

 © JzB

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Imaginary garden

The Tuesday Platform invites us to share our poetry, new or old.   So I will.

 I'll admit I'm a romantic: I believe in true love, and happily ever after.

Howevah  . . .

When love and fate mesh, it is a wondrous thing. But so much can go wrong, even if we are careful. Here is a wistful look at love, destiny, and the vagaries of fate that I wrote quite a few years ago.


There are those whose lives are meant to be entwined,
Lovers thrust together by the force of destiny,
When choice and fate converge, that they may be
Connected at the soul, the heart, the mind.

Within their closed circumference one can find

Two curves in perfect fit -- his yang, her yin,
That in each cycle once again begin
To cluster into love's sweet spiral bind.

But consider -- if in the vast span of infinity

One of them becomes displaced in small degree;
Is born a decade late, perhaps is sent
To the farthest corner of the continent --

The distant echo of an unfelt touch, an unseen face.

Who will be the one who comes to take his place?


reduced to a haiku-shaped word cluster

 come to me my love
you who would complete my soul
not a substitute

Imaginary Garden With Real Toads