Month: September 2023

Tetman Callis 0 Comments 6:15 am

“I think if you sit around waiting for something like inspiration to happen, you could just spend your lifetime sitting there. I think you get excited by actually doing it, you get excited by painting, you get excited by the possibilities of it.” – Richard Butler, a self-described “painter who sings,” His Majesty of Modesty: Richard Butler

Tetman Callis 0 Comments 6:16 am

“With the change in the type and tactics of a new and different enemy, we have evolved in the direction of total surveillance, unmanned warfare, stand-off weapons, surgical strikes, cyber operations and clandestine operations by elite forces whose battlefield is global.” – Robert H. Latiff, Future War: Preparing for the New Global Battlefield

Tetman Callis 0 Comments 6:10 am

“The retina is, in fact, the brain: in the development of the embryo, a piece of the brain comes out in front, and long fibers grow back, connecting the eyes to the brain. The retina is organized in just the way the brain is organized and, as someone has beautifully put it, ‘The brain has developed a way to look out upon the world.’ The eye is a piece of brain that is touching light, so to speak, on the outside.” – Richard P. Feynman, The Feynman Lectures on Physics, Vol. I

Tetman Callis 0 Comments 6:02 am

“It was announced by the Bureau of War Risk Insurance on March 30, 1918, that there were then 15,000 Millers in the United States Army. On the same day there were 262 John J. O’Briens, of whom 50 had wives named Mary.” – H.L. Mencken, The American Language (emphases in original)

Tetman Callis 0 Comments 5:58 am

“People’s lives today are filled with vice and the trappings of it. Ambition, greed and selfishness all have to do with vice. Sooner or later, you have to see through it or you don’t survive. We don’t see the people that vice destroys. We just see the glamour of it—everywhere we look, from billboard signs to movies, to newspapers, to magazines. We see the destruction of human life.” – Bob Dylan (interviewed by Robert Love in “Bob Dylan His Way,” 2015)

Tetman Callis 0 Comments 7:03 am

“Talent is one thing, but getting up in the morning and putting on your boots and doing something about it is another.” – Daniel Lanois (interviewed by Rick Beato on The Beato Club, published May 17, 2023)

Tetman Callis 0 Comments 6:37 am

“Somebody might study debate for five years in the university. That’s fine, but I’ve studied how to get along with people and how to get things done, in those five years. What would you call that? Is there a department that teaches cooperation, productivity, agreement, working together in such a way that you get to a better place collectively? These are the big lessons for me.” – Daniel Lanois (interviewed by Rick Beato on The Beato Club, published May 17, 2023)

Tetman Callis 0 Comments 6:02 am

“English, even in its most formal shapes, is chiefly taught by those who cannot write it decently and who get no aid from those who can.” – H.L. Mencken, The American Language

Habilis (for RK)Habilis (for RK)

Tetman Callis 0 Comments 6:24 am

If I could paint
the most necessary painting
a portrait setting
the Dutch Masters to shame

it would be you

If I could have my fingers play
in perfect rhythms and changes across
the strings and frets
a pure and balanced melody

it would be you

If I could make my
feet to move
and carry me across the floor
with grace and sureness in the dance

it would be you

But I fingerpaint
play the kazoo
and crawl everywhere I go

And there’s no making of mine
that will make you mine
and no more need be said.

(Published in Weekly Alibi, Vol. 9, No. 6, Feb. 10-16, 2000. Copyright 2000, 2023 by Tetman Callis.)


Tetman Callis 0 Comments 6:26 am

She said, “You’re cute
and everything,
but save your crystals and auras—

You want to talk
with me, lover-boy, give me your
fractal components
of the self-replicating
inflationary universe, or give me your
omnidirectional time-line
of subatomic particles,
or give me your imaginary number
in the tachyon formula—

or fuck it, just shut up
and give me your tongue.”

(Published in Weekly Alibi, Vol. 8, No. 6, Feb. 11-17, 1999. Copyright 1999, 2023 by Tetman Callis.)

Tetman Callis 0 Comments 6:24 am

“It is usually the case that at the end of a voyage, where there has been the finest weather, and no disaster, the crew have a wearied and worn-out appearance. They never sleep longer than four hours at a time, and are seldom called without being really in need of more rest. There is no one thing that a sailor thinks more of as a luxury of life on shore, than a whole night’s sleep.” – Richard Henry Dana, Two Years Before the Mast

Kent 1940Kent 1940

Tetman Callis 0 Comments 5:16 pm

Children in a trench, crouching
with faces upturned—
England during the war.

One girl, oldest of the lot
somewhere in her teens
open-collared shirt, sweater
with a hole, dark hair
pulled back from her brow
covering ears; dark eyes
hopeful and anxious
in a face of timeless beauty—
a face made for falling for
across an ocean
across time.

She would be older
than my mother
if she’s even
still alive.

(Published in Weekly Alibi, Vol. 8, No. 6, Feb. 11-17, 1999. Copyright 1999, 2023 by Tetman Callis.)

For Lucille, Whose Name Means LightFor Lucille, Whose Name Means Light

Tetman Callis 0 Comments 7:03 am

do something to me. tell me
how happy you are to
see me. see me
looking at you looking
around the room to see
whoever else you may know
who may be here.

smile. do something to me. tell me
how well you’ve been doing—
it’s been a long time.
you look
great (your hat is cute). your hair
is so much longer now; straighter,
too. it looks like silk.
you look ten years younger.
i’d forgotten
how beautiful you are. (i like
your hair like that).

do something to me. now
walk away.
i’ll walk the other way.

(Published in Weekly Alibi, Vol. 7, No. 6, Feb. 11-17, 1998. Copyright 1998, 2023 by Tetman Callis.)

Tetman Callis 0 Comments 7:01 am

“I have no fancies about equality on board ship. It is a thing out of the question, and certainly, in the present state of mankind, not to be desired. I never knew a sailor who found fault with the orders and ranks of the service; and if I expected to pass the rest of my life before the mast, I would not wish to have the power of the captain diminished an iota. It is absolutely necessary that there should be one head and one voice, to control everything, and be responsible for everything. There are emergencies which require the instant exercise of extreme power. These emergencies do not allow of consultation; and they who would be the captain’s constituted advisers might be the very men over whom he would be called upon to exert his authority. It has been found necessary to vest in every government, even the most democratic, some extraordinary, and, at first sight, alarming powers; trusting in public opinion, and subsequent accountability to modify the exercise of them. These are provided to meet exigencies, which all hope may never occur, but which yet by possibility may occur, and if they should, and there were no power to meet them instantly, there would be an end put to the government at once. So it is with the authority of the shipmaster. It will not answer to say that he shall never do this and that thing, because it does not seem always necessary and advisable that it should be done. He has great cares and responsibilities; is answerable for everything; and is subject to emergencies which perhaps no other man exercising authority among civilized people is subject to. Let him, then, have powers commensurate with his utmost possible need; only let him be held strictly responsible for the exercise of them. Any other course would be injustice, as well as bad policy.” – Richard Henry Dana, Two Years Before the Mast

The SunThe Sun

Tetman Callis 0 Comments 5:10 pm

pants down around my legs,
shirt unbuttoned—
the stink of my sweat—
i walk with small steps,
shoes untied.

the sun is coming up.

(Published in Weekly Alibi, Vol. 7, No. 6, Feb. 11-17, 1998. Copyright 1998, 2023 by Tetman Callis.)

Small Blue Poem #4Small Blue Poem #4

Tetman Callis 0 Comments 7:40 am

returned from the drugstore today—
Come see!
My angel,
Italian with a moustache and passion enough
for two—for ten! The whole town!
Her hand on my leg, my hand
on hers, then; Pink Baltic Hand,
meet Brown Adriatic Hand—shake.

Here, she sits at picnic table
and eats—a piece
of her chocolate birthday cake.
“Is it my chocolate birthday, then?”

how she holds the white plastic
fork poised
before her mouth.

how her breasts push against
her green silk blouse.

how her legs are
lost in shadow cast
by her flowered skirt.

(Published in Weekly Alibi, Vol. 7, No. 6, Feb. 11-17, 1998. Copyright 1998, 2023 by Tetman Callis.)

Tetman Callis 0 Comments 7:38 am

“Notwithstanding all that has been said about the beauty of a ship under full sail, there are very few who have ever seen a ship, literally, under all her sail. A ship coming in or going out of port, with her ordinary sails, and perhaps two of three studding-sails, is commonly said to be under full sail; but a ship never has all her sail upon her, except when she has a light, steady breeze, very nearly, but not quite, dead aft, and so regular that it can be trusted, and is likely to last for some time. Then, with all her sails, light and heavy, and studding-sails, on each side, alow and aloft, she is the most glorious moving object in the world. Such a sight, very few, even some who have been at sea a great deal, have ever beheld; for from the deck of your own vessel you cannot see her, as you would a separate object. One night, while we were in these tropics, I went out to the end of the flying-jib-boom, upon some duty, and, having finished it, turned round, and lay over the boom for a long time, admiring the beauty of the sight before me. Being so far out from the deck, I could look at the ship, as at a separate vessel;—and there rose up from the water, supported only by the small black hull, a pyramid of canvas, spreading out far beyond the hull, and towering up almost, as it seemed in the indistinct night air, to the clouds. The sea was as still as an inland lake; the light trade-wind was gently and steadily breathing from astern; the dark blue sky was studded with the tropical stars; there was no sound but the rippling of the water under the stem; and the sails were spread out, wide and high;— the two lower studding-sails stretching, on each side, far beyond the deck; the topmast studding-sails, like wings to the topsails; the top-gallant studding-sails spreading fearlessly out above them; still higher, the two royal studding-sails, looking like two kites flying from the same string; and, highest of all, the little skysail, the apex of the pyramid, seeming actually to touch the stars, and to be out of reach of human hand. So quiet, too, was the sea, and so steady the breeze, that if these sails had been sculptured marble, they could not have been more motionless. Not a ripple upon the surface of the canvas; not even a quivering of the extreme edges of the sail—so perfectly were they distended by the breeze. I was so lost in the sight, that I forgot the presence of the man who came out with me, until he said, (for he, too, rough old man-of-war’s-man as he was, had been gazing at the show,) half to himself, still looking at the marble sails—‘How quietly they do their work!’ ” – Richard Henry Dana, Two Years Before the Mast

Subsets and VariablesSubsets and Variables

Tetman Callis 0 Comments 6:29 am

Some wives get up in the morning and say,
“Good morning.”

Some wives get up in the morning and say,
“This place stinks.
We need to open some windows.”

Some objects are massive,
Too heavy to be easily moved.

Some objects are dense but small,
And will sail across rooms.

(Published in Weekly Alibi, Vol. 5, No. 5, Feb. 7-13, 1996. Copyright 1996, 2023 by Tetman Callis.)

Tetman Callis 0 Comments 6:27 am

“No pencil has ever yet given anything like the true effect of an iceberg. In a picture, they are huge, uncouth masses, stuck in the sea, while their chief beauty and grandeur,—their slow, stately motion; the whirling of the snow about their summits, and the fearful groaning and cracking of their parts,—the picture cannot give. This is the large iceberg; while the small and distant islands, floating on the smooth sea, in the light of a clear day, look like little floating fairy isles of sapphire.” – Richard Henry Dana, Two Years Before the Mast

Capitano’s RomanceCapitano’s Romance

Tetman Callis 0 Comments 5:55 am

Valentine and Spider
Fucking on the couch—
Spider works his mandibles,
Valentine cries, “Ouch!”

Book-lung’s punk inside her,
Sowing next year’s crop—
When he lets his poison flow,
Valentine grunts, “Stop!”

Our arachnid rides her,
Thinking “Stop!” means “Go!”—
His Valentine’s a girl known for
Confusing “Suck” with “Blow.”

Done, old eight-legs hides her
Underneath the stair—
He says, “My wife, she doesn’t like
Fish; it fugs the air.”

Val rots while he derides her,
Sucks her juices out—
He’ll wear her nipples on his vest,
And on his pants, her pout.

(Published in Weekly Alibi, Vol. 5, No. 5, Feb. 7-13, 1996. Copyright 1996, 2023 by Tetman Callis.

Tetman Callis 0 Comments 5:51 am

“The captain was on deck nearly the whole night, and kept the cook in the galley, with a roaring fire, to make coffee for him, which he took every few hours, and once or twice gave a little to his officers; but not a drop of anything was there for the crew. The captain, who sleeps all the daytime, and comes and goes at night as he chooses, can have his brandy and water in the cabin, and his hot coffee at the galley; while Jack, who has to stand through everything, and work in wet and cold, can have nothing to wet his lips or warm his stomach. This was a ‘temperance ship,’ and, like too many such ships, the temperance was all in the forecastle. The sailor, who only takes his one glass as it is dealt out to him, is in danger of being drunk; while the captain, who has all under his hand, and can drink as much as he chooses, and upon whose self-possession and cool judgment the lives of all depend, may be trusted with any amount, to drink at his will. Sailors will never be convinced that rum is a dangerous thing, by taking it away from them, and giving it to the officers; nor that, that temperance is their friend, which takes from them what they have always had, and gives them nothing in the place of it. By seeing it allowed to their officers, they will not be convinced that it is taken from them for their good; and by receiving nothing in its place, they will not believe that it is done in kindness. On the contrary, many of them look upon the change as a new instrument of tyranny. Not that they prefer rum. I never knew a sailor, in my life, who would not prefer a pot of hot coffee or chocolate, in a cold night, to all the rum afloat. They all say that rum only warms them for a time; yet, if they can get nothing better, they will miss what they have lost. The momentary warmth and glow from drinking it; the break and change which is made in a long, dreary watch by the mere calling all hands aft and serving of it out; and the simply having some event to look forward to, and to talk about; give it an importance and a use which no one can appreciate who has not stood his watch before the mast.” – Richard Henry Dana, Two Years Before the Mast