The Totality

The TotalityEclipse

I was really expecting to get something cosmic out of the eclipse, visions, the dead appearing, a surrealist landscape bathed in weird blue light… something. I made hard boiled eggs, and then egg salad for a sandwich. I fed the cat. She ate and went back to sleep on one of the kitchen chairs. The light began to fade and I turned on the electric lights in the kitchen – I’m such a romantic. I found a nice live news feed from NBC and watched it on my Fire tablet. The light was getting dimmer slowly. I went outside and looked around. It was kind of weird, like 7 PM light at 2:30 in the afternoon. I smoked a cigar and tried to soak up whatever strange vibes might be around, checking how I was feeling – the feeling was heavy, by the way. I felt heavy. I went back inside and picked up my dishes. Soon the light was coming back up. It was passed. It never got completely dark here, just dim, a metaphor perhaps.

If there was a mystic vision it was that for a couple of days we all seemed to be on the same page about the eclipse. Millions travelled to the perfect spot to watch it. Scholars dug up the mythology of the eclipse and scientists overheated their computers calculating the track and the times. The bloggers blogged and the peeps tweeted. It was a rare moment of mental unity, not unlike John Glenn’s first Mercury flight. That one was so powerful that my third grade teacher let me listen to my transistor radio in class. The eclipse was not quite as dramatic but it had the unifying feeling that the early spaceflights did.


Red and Green and Blue

Ride_2-20-16_5Red and Green and Blue

Red and green and blue are safely locked in my head. Night returns with disease and obsession, obsessions. I draw a line on a dirty piece of paper. There is nothing on either side but I have created a boundary. I don’t feel any safer.

He walks to the back of the house without great conviction, out the back door to look at the alley. The painkiller makes his vision flicker around the edges. Painkillers are a gift from God when they are needed, and they are needed tonight.

The red is the blood. The green is the money. The blue is the sky. I think about a bourbon. That will surely put me away. I like the sound of ice cubes hitting the lead crystal rock glass. The red is the blood, the poison river, always escaping, falling, splashing.

He doesn’t try to count the city lights. There are too many and he dislikes them all. They hide the stars. He wanders rather than walking because he has no destination in mind. He breathes a word that only he understands. He exhales it.

I touch the steel because it is blue. I touch the skin because it is red. I touch the earth because it is green, but that is all. I am unavailable. Disconnect the phone because I know the danger. A song plays in my head that I don’t like.

He lights another cigarette and inhales deeply. Smoke trickles out of his mouth and nose, slowly, erotically. The smoke curls up around his face and into his hair. He pulls an old book from the shelf. Without even looking at the title, he begins to read.


Our Thunder over Louisville at KLOU Bowman Field, 2015

This was our Saturday, at KLOU Bowman Field. This is my home field. I live about three miles from here. You will find a significant number of flights in and out of KLOU in VAFS. "Thunder Over Louisville" is part of the Kentucky Derby Festival and it is half air show and half fireworks. We rode our bikes over to the field to watch the planes. A member of the Vintage Warbirds invited us into their hanger. It was a magical day. Here are some pics.



Poems from the Street: Between




Between young and old,
black and white,
rich and poor —

Between right and left,
gay and straight,
man and woman —

Between Inside and outside,
thought and feeling,
dreaming and waking —

Between now and then,
yesterday and today,
today and tomorrow —

Between them and us,
you and me
ourselves —
We need to build more bridges.

August 19, 2014


Stories from the Street: Wall Art Louisville


Open Door




After the storm 8


Skater Boy


24-hour Cafe








Kentucky Rushmore 2




Highland Morning


Poems from the Street: Listening for a Song



Listening for a song, and the quiet

is so hard to find.

The song would seep from my DNA

like an enzyme,

or fall from the stars like dew.

The song would settle like dust

on my bookshelf,

or form like a painful scab

on my skin.

It would be about everything,

and nothing at all,

heroism and trivia,

rage and lust,

entropy and boredom —

Listening for a song.


– July 7, 2014 –


Poems from the Street: Dogfight

Buchertown Greenway 6

Dog fight out on the street –

Two pit bulls, one leashed

And one free,

hardly a fair fight.


Sun rakes the street

with searing rays.

It cooks things dry,

Makes dogs want to fight.


Fumes from cars

are WMD –

choking, toxic.

My bike makes no fumes.


Allant in Cherokee Park


Bicycle Review: Trek Allant

Trek Allant 20I had a particular mission in mind when I went shopping for a new bike. It needed to have fenders for bad weather operation because I ride all through the year. It needed to have swept back handlebars and some padding in the saddle for an upright riding position and comfort because my road bike was giving me inflammation in my shoulders, elbows and lower back due to some of the rough roads and alleys that I travel. It needed to have fairly wide tires for both the lousy weather and the rough roads mentioned above. It needed to have cargo capacity because I run as many errands as I can on my bike. Also, it needed to look good and have quality construction. Additionally, local factory certified support is important to me. I needed a high quality commuter bike that ran well, did the job, looked good and was comfortable. I did a lot of shopping and comparing. I went to every shop in town and looked at models and prices. There was one bike of the many I saw that captured my imagination: The Trek Allant.

The Allant is an elegant European styled commuter. The color is a dark gray with a brown leather saddle. The logos, decorative decals and other markings are tastefully understated. There isn’t a screaming 600-point manufacturer banner ad on the down tube. Trek puts their logo on the frame on the forward area of the top tube so it doesn’t feel as if one is riding a sandwich board advertisement. The frame of the Allant is made of Trek’s “Alpha Silver Aluminum Alloy.” I don’t have a clue as to what that is, but it is light without being excessively rigid. The front fork is chrome molybdenum steel which provides a bit of flex to the frame to smooth out the bumps. I have often heard it said that aluminum frames are rigid and transfer more road shock to the rider than steel frames do. Perhaps it is the alloy that Trek uses for the Allant, but I don’t notice the Trek feeling any rougher than my steel bike.

Trek Allant 3The drive train is the ubiquitous Shimano 21-speed indexed shifting transmission. I could live without it, but it seems to be what everyone wants these days. It is geared low so it climbs well and deals with poor surface conditions well. The tires are medium wide Bontrager H2 Hard-Case Lite, reflective, 700x35c. Other niceties include the Bontrager Satellite Elite lock-on ergonomic grips which are really comfortable, Bontrager Interchange rear rack, full-coverage color-matched fenders, and alloy kickstand.

I have read the criticism of this bike that it is not “fast.” To this critique I have some advice and comment: put it in high gear and pedal faster. You will find that it is fairly quick, but it isn’t as fast as my old 12-speed road bike. If you’re planning to enter the local triathlon, don’t buy this bike. Anyone who buys this bike for speed has been poorly served by their advisors. Buy this bike if you want a comfortable, high quality commuter that looks great and carries a really attractive price tag.

This is a lifestyle bike. It is designed for a person who will spend a lot of time on the bike. I have become seriously engaged with the idea of doing as much on my bike and as little in my car as I can do. I don’t want a single dinosaur to die for my sins. I do believe that automobile culture is reaching a breaking point. There are too many cars and they cost too much to buy and operate. Already, there seems to be more cars than the streets and highways can comfortably handle. There is a finite amount of space available for streets and highways, and we are already finding the limits of that capacity, especially in the urban areas. Alternative forms of transportation of which the bicycle is one, can help to relieve the overcrowding of our streets and highways.

Trek Allant 17Utility is part of the mission description for this bike. The rule is that all errands get run on the bike as long as time and weather make it possible. There are situations for me when I have to take the car due to time constraints and weather conditions. I’m not crazy. When I need to use the car, I use it, but when a particular trip or errand is possible on the bike, I do it on the bike. This rule makes me healthier, happier, richer, and saner. I have Bongo Bros. grocery bags that clip to the cargo rack and I do as much grocery shopping as possible on the bike. I also have a clip-on briefcase carrier for my laptop so I can hang it onto the bike and drive to a coffee shop to work in a different atmosphere if I desire it. I have found that this can stimulate creativity at times.

Part of the charm of this bike is that, with its fenders, great saddle and swept back handlebars, it is the “super bike” that I always wanted as a kid. Of course, it didn’t exist then. The aluminum alloy frame and space-age Shimano 21-speed shifters waited many years in the future when I was twelve. Still, the look and feel of the bike has a way of transporting me back to that younger me who sailed the streets of my childhood on a two-wheeler. I love that feeling. It has been said many times before, going back to Susan B. Anthony, but the bicycle has an almost magical capacity to impart a sense of freedom to its riders.

The price of this bike deserves a mention. In a day when “entry level” bicycles are running $1200 and up, my total cost with taxes and couple of accessories was just under $650. Bicycles have become really expensive and I suppose that value is in the eye of the buyer, but paying $4K or so for a bicycle just hits me the wrong way. Part of the charm of the Allant is that it is a really top quality bicycle for a really reasonable price. Perhaps it is the style – it doesn’t look like a bike that will run the Tour De France – but the bike is a terrific value.

Trek Allant 18Does it accomplish the mission? Yesterday I did 12 miles on it and today I did 14 miles and these 60-year-old arms, legs and back feel great. I love this bike. I am finding that I can do more miles on this bike than I ever could on my old road bike. It is more comfortable and less tiring. When I finish a long ride, I don’t hurt. The old road bike, as much as I loved it, was giving me inflammation and pain in my elbows and shoulders. The Trek Allant has made all of that pain and inflammation go away. I can report that I am averaging twice as many miles per week on the new bike than I could do on the old road bike. The pain in my elbows and shoulders is a distant memory. I am doing almost all of my grocery shopping on the bike due to its cargo rack and the Bongo Bros. Grocery Bags I bought to go with it. It took a few weeks to get used to the indexed shifters, but I have now, and I use them. So, to the mission question, the answer is yes, it is the bike that I wanted and it fulfills my expectations. I would buy it again.


Trek Allant 2

Trek Allant 19

Trek Allant 11