Detroit Red Wings versus Chicago Blackhawks: what hockey sounds like to a poet

Detroit Red Wings versus Chicago Blackhawks: what hockey sounds like to a poet

San Francisco, California
Sunday, May 26, 2013
(Saturday’s game)

Rosenball moves to the corner and shroud’s a pickle! Now at the blue line… down the boards… sticks a penalty to shrew Nefertiti icing a stickman. Cobb, the only non-liner vice conduct when Kareem defends a shark.   Turns out to be the ref’s high dick flying in a piss, but he wasn’t happy with it at all.  Anderson will try a ponzu on the oldest guy… a dirty-six who rattles in around and back with a peg leg full of cotton candy, but his old lady rushes it back down for seconds.   Taint’s on kick-by-keen for a change…. knifed away while Jean Burls, with some quinine, gains the last clem for the carry back, almost a gentle derision on the penalty kill but the pressure point stabilized the super-aggressive frustration ending in a family killing and an offensive nod from the king of Siam. 

 Brett’s salad comes off as a gay back with a little chin music and Roosevelt’s drifting shot had to be called soft. Local back system of change hopped around near a  muzzled pit bull, and the blackhawks have long gone giving it to the mind with a bare Jimmy Hoffa. Sharp chef turning a bag, the red wings take it across with a steam engine chugging a free lunch, and now Poland’s gonna go act dastardly and the ref’s can’t love it.

Advocator, the slack fly another dictator, cause this party’s gonna shiver a timber in a batshit mistake. Better speed wide to the outside taking a punk to the dive while Cromwell sidles in on the shoulder and pokes a snowman. Gumby’s physical play is a sight to behold. Wasn’t it great?!   

Nordpolen Journal: 5/27/13- postcards to influential strangers 9

Nordpolen Journal: 5/27/13- postcards to influential strangers 9

San Francisco, California
Monday, May 27, 2013

Click here to see the list of 15.

9. Siouxsie Sioux:

Siouxsie, other than the dead people on my list, wins the prize for most difficult to find a mailing address. There is nothing on any of her fan sites that I could discover. I spent an hour tracking down her general manager, and will send it to him in London in the hopes that it actually gets to her eventually. To add a twist, I am going to geocache this postcard in the arctic, relying upon the kindness and eventuality of a stranger to actually drop it in the mail at some point in the future. This is a longshot of longshots. However, in a little nudge of collaboration from the universe, I discovered that today is Siouxsie’s 56th birthday. I had no idea… so perhaps a sign of good fortune? We’ll see, won’t we?





Nordpolen Journal: 5/24/13- postcards to influential strangers 6a, 6b, 7 and 8

Nordpolen Journal: 5/24/13- postcards to influential strangers 6a, 6b, 7 and 8

San Francisco, California
Friday, May 24, 2013

The next four postcards to people on my list of 15:

6(a)- Samuel Taylor Coleridge:

Samuel Taylor Coleridge-(a)Samuel Taylor Coleridge- (a2)6(b)- Samuel Taylor Coleridge:

Samuel Taylor Coleridge- (b)Samuel Taylor Coleridge- (b2)

7. Leonard Nimoy:

Leonard NimoyLeonard Nimoy

8. T.S. Eliot:

T.S. EliotT.S. Eliot

Nordpolen Journal: 5/19/13- Postcards to influential strangers 4 and 5

Nordpolen Journal: 5/19/13- Postcards to influential strangers 4 and 5

San Francisco, California
Sunday May 19, 2013

The next two postcards to people on my list of 15:

I’ve found it difficult not to expand my list over the past few days, but I’m resisting that. It’s enough for me to complete these fifteen.

I’m open to suggestions from any of you who read this, as to what to do with the postcards I’ve written to people who are now dead. I don’t want to keep them, I want to send them out into the world somehow, but I’d like to find a really good way to do it. If you think of something, please leave me a comment with your suggestions. My ears are open.

4. Anais Nin:

Anais Nin

Anais Nin- text

5. Marvin Kaye: Okay, to my delight, after writing four postcards to people who are dead, I discovered that Marvin Kaye is still kicking. He is the current editor of Weird Tales Magazine. He was born in 1938, and oddly, one of the postcards I had sitting around is postmarked 1938. Seems appropriate, if not downright synchronous. When I sat down to write it, I suddenly became nervous. This postcard will actually get mailed, and to know there is a person on the other end who might, or might not, respond means that I’m really risking something by sending it. But, since Mr. Kaye is an editor of weird stories, I might have a bat’s chance in hell of being understood. On the other hand, he might not appreciate the repurposed post card and alarmingly small scrawl on it. That, however, is none of my concern. I can only offer my thanks, I can’t make him take them.

Marvin Kaye

Marvin Kaye- text

Nordpolen Journal: 5/17/13- postcards to influential strangers 2 and 3

Nordpolen Journal: 5/17/13- postcards to influential strangers 2 and 3

Two more from my list of 15:

2. Jacques Cousteau:

I found a postcard that someone had already written on. It was postmarked in 1976, when I was 7 years old, about the time I became aware of Messr. Cousteau and his boat, Calypso. Stamps were only 9 cents then, and grammar on stamps was not so great. The tea lid is from my friend Frances, who told me it was meant for me. It says:

I must down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and sky,
and all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by.”

John Masefield



3. Gustav Doré


The Council of the Rats, Gustav Dore

Nordpolen Journal: 5/16/13- postcards to influential strangers

Nordpolen Journal: 5/16/13- postcards to influential strangers

San Francisco, California

Today I sat down and made a list of strangers to whom I owe a fragment of my creative self. It is through their trap doors, attics, belfries, squats, closets, crawlspaces, choruses, windows, vistas, wormholes, timeslips, floorboards, rumors, hijinks, trysts, pain, curiosity, and difficulties that I have been given breathtaking glimpses of other worlds.

I would like to send each of them a postcard. Why a postcard? Because it has all the brevity of a text message, and all the fading, duct-taped-together, institutional-beige romance of the post office.  Constraint, when pouring one’s heart out a stranger, is a good thing, and if it must be imposed by a small window of blank cardstock, fully exposed for anyone to read, then that makes it both more a public declaration of love, and (hopefully) a less purple or redundant one, since I have very little space to write, and I can’t hit the “delete” key when I fuck up.

Also, I feel a little sad that sending physical objects to people with things written on them as a form of communication is now considered passe enough to be arty. I’d rather think of it as tossing a fistful of unrequited love letters into the machine, to see if I get any pingbacks.

I happen to have, in the upper-right hand drawer of my desk, a bunch of postcards I’ve been collecting for something. And this is now that something. They range from 60 years old to printed this year. Some are quite ugly, which is why I kept them:


And here’s the list, in the order that they came into my mind:


1. Susanna Clarke
2. Neil Gaiman
3. Siouxsie Sioux
4. Virtual Boy
5. Edgar Allan Poe
6. T.S. Eliot
7. Charles Fort
8. Robert Smith
9. Leonard Nimoy
10. Jack Webb/Rod Serling
11. Tim Burton
12. Gustav Doré
13. Jacques Cousteau
14. Marvin Kaye
15. Peter Murphy
16. Anais Nin
17. Camille Flammarion
18. William Butler Yeats

Now other than one or two I am not entirely sure of, I count 11 people on this list that are dead, but I’m not going to let that stop me.

Here’s the first postcard, to Edgar Allan Poe. I’ll have to figure out how to address it tomorrow.



Nordpolen Journal: 5/14/13- The Trail of Blood

Nordpolen Journal: 5/14/13- The Trail of Blood


San Francisco, California

Last week on my way to work I noticed what looked like a trail of blood drops on Judah Street. I was distracted, playing Candy Crush Saga on my phone and also listening to a podcast. I walk every day the same 20 blocks to work, so I can basically do it on autopilot. I’m not sure how, with those distractions, as well as watching for traffic, that I actually noticed the blood spatter… but I did. At first I thought, oh, somebody cut their hand and must have dripped on their way into the house.

This morning, I noticed the blood drops again, near 18th avenue. It’s been a week, and the blood has turned a brownish-black:



This morning I was struck, somehow, by the fact that the blood was still there. It hasn’t rained, but it’s been foggy and misty. I would have thought that the blood would have been washed away at this point… but there it is…

and there it was again, halfway down the block…

So I kept watching for it….

And there it was again, between 18th and 17:


And again, between 17th and 16th:


I started to question what I was seeing… is this really blood? What else could it be? Paint? Chocolate Syrup?

But it really looks like blood, and whatever happened, it happened a week ago, and whomever it happened to has now been walking at least four blocks leaving these drips and splatters every few feet.

Judging by the way the splatters are distended toward the West, I’m guessing this person was traveling East– maybe headed for the hospital, which is at the top of the hill, about 16 more blocks.  But then I noticed that the blood was very close to the houses, rather than in the middle of the sidewalk, where most people would walk, like this poor bleeding being was hugging the walls.

15th-avenueThen I saw this between 16th and 15th, and it occurred to me that it could be an injured animal, maybe a dog. For some reason, this made me more upset than thinking it had been a person. The dog might have been hit by a car at 19th, which is what Highway 1 is called as it passes through the western edge of San Francisco. It’s a dangerous, loud road, and the cars travel fast.

So is this what a dog would do if it were bleeding? I have seen animals hit by cars- they usually keep running if they can, and then either collapse or go hide under something.

But this animal has been moving in a straight line for four blocks, and at a steady but not panicked pace, from the way the drops are spaced out.


At the corner of 14th, the trail continued…

and again, midway through the block:


And I’m starting to feel… this strange mix of feelings: curiosity, disbelief, concern, wonder, doubt, worry, bafflement. I’m starting to try to find a story in this trail. What happened? When did it happen? Who did it happen to? Why did it happen? Was it an accident? Was it self-inflicted? Was it inflicted by one person an another person, or by a person on an animal, or by one animal on another animal? Was it during the day? Did anyone see it happen? Was it at night? Was it cold outside? Was there fear?

Is this person, or animal, still alive?

Midway between 14th and 13th (which is called, maybe superstitiously, Funston, rather than 13th) the trail of blood paralleled the hedge and manicured grass beside St. Anne of the Sunset church.

funston-13thavenue A woman walking her dog seemed curious that I was taking pictures of the ground, but the two of them passed by without comment. I wished I could ask her dog if it was really blood. So much would be solved by having a nose that could tell me if I was making a mistake, if my worry could be foundless, and instead I could wonder why someone would walk all this way dripping some substance other than one that signals a significant injury.

When I crossed 13th (Funston), to the next block I lost the trail. I was just beginning to feel relief, when it appeared again, halfway to 12th avenue:

12th-avenue1Again, right against a doorway and a fence… the way a dog would… sniffing at every little object, every little chemical story.

Somehow that made me feel better. If the dog has time to sniff, maybe the injury wasn’t so bad. Maybe it was just bleeding a lot. And the drops look a smaller. Maybe, at this point, it was stopping.

Midway between 12th and 11th, I found this:


Somebody’s bloody right hand.

And then the trail of drops continued between 11th and 10 avenue:

10th-avenueAnd on 10th, amid the flattened gum and coffee stains and garbage and general dirt, they disappeared.

gumNothing outside Dash Cafe. Nothing outside the Donut Shop…

except people at 9th avenue in scrubs and tennis shoes, on their way to work at the hospital, like me.


Nothing more from 9th all the way up to the hospital. Just a relatively clean sidewalk:


We are blasted daily by one crisis after another. They bloom like violent flowers, or fireworks, or solar flares, and are quickly replaced by the next crisis. I am trained to pay attention to things because they are recent, because they just happened, or are happening right now. Once the fresh injuries, the pain, the drama of the unfolding has taken place, attention shifts to something else.  Try looking for new information about a story that is a week old.

Like this blood trail, you will find mostly just the original trauma reiterated, and beginning to fade.

But something happened, and I don’t know what to do with that. I feel compelled to reach some level of explanation, some understanding. It seems like we are all compelled to find out certain things: who, what, when… and then guess at why… until we reach a point where some internal need is satisfied. A need to identify things, to make sense of things.

I have to keep walking past this trail of blood every day. I have no idea how long it will take to be washed away by the world moving on. But it won’t get washed out of me.