Tuesday, August 18, 2015



My previous blog post Love Letters to Ghosts got the least amount of views and comments out of all the posts I've ever written. It might have had something to do with the bland title. It definitely had to do with the unappealing subject matter.

On second thought, the title is not bland.....

Many people are frightened by the subject of poetry and tend to run in the opposite direction when confronted with it. Others become bewildered and simply don't know what to say.

And I'm sure some people have intensely odious flashbacks of being forced to read Byron when they were in high school.

I'm inclined to suggest the idea of having naked poetry readings. With free wine. No nudity on the part of the poet. Only naked audiences.

An aside:
I only added Hot Naked Poetry in my current blog title as a cheap ploy to see if it would generate more interest.

Don't forget my poetry book on Amazon. The Look Inside preview has finally been activated.


I'm now going to answer the eleven questions that Myra has submitted in her most recent blog post. Here's the link:


I love answering questions, as long as they're not annoyingly personal.
These are the kinds of questions I hate:

How old are you?
Rumors that I was at Appomattox during General Lee's surrender are greatly exaggerated. I was, in fact, in Richmond.
Are you gay?
Let's have a few drinks tonight and we'll find out.

Have you ever killed anyone?
I'm considering it.

Here are Myra's eleven questions:

1.  If you could have chosen your own first name, what would it be?

That's a tough one because I'm never satisfied and would always regret whatever I had chosen. One thing is certain, I NEVER wanted to be a "junior" - especially since I loathed my father. When I got out of high school I legally changed my name from John Jr. to Jonathan.
My mother wanted to name me Paul - - heaven knows why. Possibly for the Apostle Paul?? I think my maternal grandfather had a brother named Paul.
How about Branwell? Or the Hungarian Zoltan? 

2.  Everyone's heard of "The Apprentice."  If you could apprentice under anyone in the world for one year, who would that be?

Strangely enough, there isn't anyone with whom I'd want to be an apprentice. I'm too independent. And stubborn.

3.  What is one vacation destination that many people think is just fab, but which you have no desire to visit (or re-visit)?

I am tired of hearing incessant, nauseating raves about Hawaii. I'm not a tropical-type person. I loathe hula, poi, and leis. Besides, I'm scared of islands and volcanoes.

4.  Considering all the big-screen movies you've ever seen, which one do you believe has had the greatest emotional impact on you?

Wow, I'm a passionate movie lover and have been emotionally charged by many of them. I think some of the ones that I saw at an early age (early teens) impacted me the most. I was profoundly moved by The Pawnbroker, The Virgin Spring, Two Women, Ballad of a Soldier (a Russian film), Zita (a French film), and...believe it or not....The Bad Seed. There are many others.

5.  If you were to rank the four seasons - as you know them - in order of your favorite to your least favorite, how would the seasons be ranked?

As a child I loved summer. Now I dislike it. Next to winter - - which I despise.
I love the transitional seasons, autumn and spring.
Autumn is my absolute favorite season. I have an autumnal soul

6.  What song has the power to bring you to tears faster than any other?

I can immediately think of two - The Beautiful Isle of Somewhere and the hymn entitled He (He Can Turn the Tides).

7.  If you could have any view in the world visible from your bed, what would it be?

Impossible to decide. Hey, how about the Grand Canyon?

8.  If you had to name a smell that always makes you nostalgic, what would it be?

The scent of Gardenias. And perhaps sandalwood after-shave.

9.  If you had to pick the TV personality you were most in love with as a kid, who would it be?

I was crazy about Popeye cartoons. In retrospect, good Gawd - I have no idea why.

10.  If were were to have 3 new baby daughters, what would you name them?

Kyra, Mariah, Sasha
....don't ask why....it's all I could come up with....

11.  In terms of the actual time (e.g., 5:00PM) what is generally your favorite time of the day?

Midnight - - the end of one day, the beginning of another....the witching hour, a time of peace, solitude, dreams.

* * *

A new post on my photo blog


  1. I shouldn't have been surprised to read that the subject of poetry doesn't fire people up, though it is sad when it's brought to ones attention as forcefully as it did with your blog.
    I think the most influential person there ever was in my life (after my mother) was at school with our English teacher around the ages of 15-16, one Father Hurst (the youngest priest at our college at the time, probably in his mid-20s). He conveyed like no one else I can imagine, the sheer beauty that language can evoke - in particular through poetry and, above all, through Shakespeare (another subject which is guaranteed to get everyone scurrying for cover). I dare say that I was by no means the only one in his class where he conjured scales to fall from our eyes for the rest of our lives. I've never felt so indebted to anyone.
    I like to learn poetry by heart and it's another part of my morning ritual to revise all that I know sequentially, one per morning.There's currently about 40 of them - and the Shakespeare sonnets as well. (Yes, all 154 of them).

    Apart from 'The Pawnbroker' (which I saw decades ago but not since) the other films you mention I've just had to look up. None of the titles meant anything to me. Maybe I ought to feel deprived as they are clearly of great value to you.

    I'm with you on your liking for Autumn, for colour and spectacle it's unrivalled - but my feelings are always tempered by it being the harbinger of Winter, that most ghastly of seasons. Fine to look at, but only from the other side of glass.

    1. Ray, you were very fortunate to have had a teacher who could so strongly perpetuate your love of literature. It's a very rare thing and he must have been a very special person. Teaching with true passion isn't easy. I'm truly impressed with your ability to memorize poetry. I have a very faulty memory when it comes to music or words - - yet my memory of my life is uncanny.

      I suppose it's ironic that all the films I listed are foreign ones, except for "The Pawnbroker" (and "The Bad Seed"). There are so very MANY films that I love - it's impossible to chose. The films that I listed were ones that I saw at an early age, when I was particularly impressionable.

    2. That teacher-priest, Jon, was a perfect example of how a person can change/guide/point another person towards a better and richer life. It only takes one to do it - and I'd like to think that I wasn't the only life he changed.

      If I had to name the films that most influenced me the list wouldn't be anywhere near as abstruse as yours is. I think they'd pretty well all be well-known. Maybe a subject for a future blog. - Oh, I've just remembered they're all listed on my profile anyway, so no need. Phew!

  2. "Ballad Of A Soldier" - A little known film, but one of the greatest things to come out of Russia. The other being, Makarova. Even though I saw this many, many years ago, I can still feel the emotions I experienced.

    I have reserved the DVD at my library and will certainly experience its emotional impact again. Thanks for bringing it to mind.

    1. Wow, I didn't think anybody had heard of "Ballad of a Soldier". I haven't seen it since I was about fourteen, but I remember that it had a great impact on me. I haven't seen "Makarova".
      My list of favorite films is so vast that it's always impossible to choose.

    2. Jon, Sorry that I wasn't clear. I meant Natalia Makarova, one of the world's greatest ballet dancers, who came from Russia.

    3. Paul, NOW I get it. At first I thought that you meant a documentary film about Makarova.
      Anyway, Makarova was definitely one of the greatest dancers ever. I saw her dance in Los Angeles (Looong ago) and she was astounding.
      I wrote to her once and sh sent me an autographed photo.

  3. Great job on the questionaire, Jon! As for post title, I believe you're on the right track but could go farther --maybe something like Hot Naked Teenage Werewolf Pom Pom Nun Poems, or 10 Ways To Induce Lycanthropy In Figure Skaters. The possibilities are endless. You'll think of something.

    1. I LOVE those titles, Geo. - and you've given me great ideas for new books.

  4. I'm delighted that you wanted to play along, Jon!
    The Grand Canyon, yeah! That was my first instinct.
    Mostly, I'm pleased to see (where) someone besides myself is wholly UNenchanted with Hawaii. No thank you very much!

    I'm unfamiliar with The Beautiful Isle of Somewhere; but I'll be sure to look for it on YouTube tonight.

    1. Unfortunately, there are some lousy versions of "The Beautiful Isle of Somewhere". It's very sentimental and often it's done too fast and with little emotion.
      When I played it on the piano it would often make my Mom get teary-eyed.

  5. hmmmmmmm, perhaps I should steal those questions for my blog...

    POPEYE cartoons??????

    1. I hope you do steal them - it would be interesting.

      Yes, Popeye. I was a weird kid.
      The show was hosted by Tom Hatten - - does anybody remember him? I think I had a crush on him.

  6. I went to Hawaii
    many years ago
    with my folks
    we had a great time
    plane delayed here 9 hours
    snow storm in March
    when we got there
    it was like Fantasy Island
    I'm not the type to say
    you really should go
    it was nice at the time

    1. Almost everyone I know has been to Hawaii and the general consensus is that it's fantastic. With my luck, I'd go there and the volcano would erupt.

  7. I like the picture of that hunk of a guy! Now I need to get to bed and get some sleep it's 1:30 AM here in Alabama.

    1. I'm glad you liked the hunk. It's now 4:00 AM here and I haven't gone to bed. The cats are chasing a mouse and causing a ruckus.

  8. saw it, didn't have time to comment, I am 6 or 7 time zones away again

  9. I didn't even know there were that many time zones.

  10. Great answers, Jon. I haven't thought about the song "Beautiful Isle of Somewhere" for many years. In 1960, when my grandmother was dying, my father took a record player and a stack of her favorite records to the hospital to play for her... even when she was in a coma. One of those records, and the one he played most often, was Tennessee Ernie Ford singing a bunch of old hymns. "Somewhere" happened to be one of them, and I can practically hear him singing it now. Thanks for jostling my memory.


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