Thursday, December 31, 2020

Jan 2021

Contemplating faces of the past and the future...

My Balcony Buddha
Quietly contemplates
Alms of snow
In his hands...
Here & now.

He ponders
Faces of the past
Faces of the future.

What does he know?
What can he tell us?
What do those faces

Are there messages
In the faces?
In the fonts???
Can my Balcony Buddha
Decipher desires?
From typefaces????

I choose to depict
Our New Year’s numbers
In Linotype Zootype.
I like the curvy boldness
And how this year’s
Numeral One
Asserts its straight
Against that very

And all this with a
Bird’s eye view
Of past and future.
I like to think
I’m watching
My future unfurl
From my aerie...

Able to watch
And remain firm
Then venture forth
Back into a
Brave-again world…
Not new, but renewed.

What font do you choose
For your New Year?
What will your choice
Tell you about your own
Future prognostications?

I've accidentally invented
A new profession
For myself:
Personalized typeface readings.

Want me to tell you
About your choice?
Just send me a pic or a pdf
Of the numerals 2021 set large
In your typeface of choice.
Also tell me the font name.
I'll send you an interpretation...
Free (for a limited time only).

In the meantime,
Enjoy your celebrations
And (like last month from Maude Lewis)...
Don’t forget the cats.

If this isn't nice, what is?

              ~ Kurt Vonnegut, of course

Monday, November 23, 2020

Dec 2020

Maudie did it...

Not I.
I just present it to you here...
In all its joyful mien.
But then
Presented it first
So I'm really
Passing on her
Special Delivery.
Produced by
Canada Post
In honour of the season
In honour of Nova Scotia's
Own folk artist,
Maud Lewis.
She, whom the movie
Maudie made visible
To the many of us
Who had been
Bereft without
Even knowing it.

Now we can be
Joyous folk,

Hélène L’Heureux
Designed stamps
And souvenir sheet
For Canada Post.
I did nothing but
Add this month's
Calendar and postmark.
Thank you Hélène.
Thank you Canada Post.
Thank you Maud.

May your own
Winter scenes be filled
The the warmth
Of folks both
Inside your bubble
Folks far flung.
And cats, too.
Don't forget the cats.

If this isn't nice, what is?

              ~ Kurt Vonnegut, of course

Saturday, October 31, 2020

Nov 2020


Alfie and Canadian Ex-pats...

Every month I choose an image
To share with you
And that I want to live
On my desktop
For the whole month ahead.

I prepare the calendar and stare at it...
Trying to decide what
Parts of it are drawing me to it...
And which parts of it
To focus on for you.
Often I ask Google for details
To tickle my internal thesaurus.
I stare and ask myself
What's it all about?
Alfie?Kate sent me
This gently autumnal image
From a recent walk
At Reservoir #3 in Jersey City...
Just a few blocks from her home
On a cliff above Hoboken
And across the Hudson
From Manhattan.
They're called Canada geese,
Of course. Each generation
Follows the same flight path
Every year, knowing where
To find the best marshy areas
Even in the midst
Of a highly-peopled landscape.
As an artist, I'm always drawn
To reflections... and here we have
Reflections of the trees and
The geese and the clouds.
And look at how light the edge
Of the water is where it meets
The trees... a dividing line,
As it were,
Between the trees and their own reflection.
And then there are the ripples...
Rapturous evidence
Of life's constant motion.
And back to the clouds:
They all have names, eh?
I sometimes remember some of them...
Cirrus... cumulus... stratus...
Then I am reminded that
An amateur meteorologist
Gave us those names way back in 1802.
This month I can't seem to focus
On just one aspect to write about...
So you'll have to decide for yourself.

I hope you will enjoy having
These geese ex-pats hanging about
On your own desktop this month.

Have a great Mo/November
Be sure to remember
While you're remembering
On the eleventh:
Et al.
His birthday
And pleas
For humanity.

If this isn't nice, what is?

              ~ Kurt Vonnegut, of course

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Ah, the glowing begins...

For the past seven years
Since I've been living
Here in my 18th-floor
Looking westward over the Don River,
I've shown you the autumn colours
In their more developed glory
At the end of October.

But this year, sequestered as I continue to be,
I'd like to show you how autumn glows
As it all begins.
Ever since moving to Toronto in 1978
The view of the west bank of the Don River
Has marked my tracing of the seasons.
The habit:
Sit on the south side of the subway car
Next to a window
Facing west...
And marvel at how much difference
Each day brings...
Mornings and evenings.
But especially the mornings.

These days my altitude has altered
But my wonder continues
This month I offer you
Yesterday's view of that same west bank
At dawn...
When the sun is just high enough to
Light the skyline buildings
And to pick out the glowing oranges
Yellows that I watch
Each day.

I can't really count the leaves
As they change each day,
But I feel the incremental
Shifting. Almost hour-by-hour.
The sun rises further south
Each day, of course.
And later, too.
These are some of my
Daily noticings.

Others include
How flexible my ageing
Frame feels.
How dust motes float
But seem to show their
Landing spots as the sun
Progresses in its daily descent...
Just before its glare becomes
Altogether too much and I must
Pull curtains across my
Glorious view...

Only to open them again
After the sun sets
My nighttime views...
Sans colours in the valley,
Of course,
But skyline alit
As if to say
I'm still here.

Me, too.

If this isn't nice, what is?

              ~ Kurt Vonnegut, of course

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Sept 2020


We're all inside looking out...

Our times are marked
By the ways we're staying
And the ways we're keeping
Others safe...
With masks and distance
And just plain staying home.

There's a vigilance
That comes with our
Like Kate's Batman, here,
We want to know
What's going on...
Out there.
We want to be
Out there...
And in the thick
Of it,
Whatever "it" is.

But we're stuck
In here contemplating
Our own versions
Of bugs and squirrels...
Of the smells of forbidden
Street food.

Wait! Is that a pigeon
About to land
On MY balcony????

If this isn't nice, what is?

              ~ Kurt Vonnegut, of course

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Aug 2020

Keeping my distance...

Spring has truly turned
Into a steaming summer
As attested to by
Colours bursting forth
Far and wide.
Online images show us
Tulip fields
Without us!
Parks and ponds
Without us!
Forests and glades
Without us!
And the blooms
Frolic unabated
In our absence.

Seems Mama Nature
Knows her part
And is splendidly keeping
Her show on the road...
With the ever-buzzy aid
Of some dusty-bottomed

Kate found this evidence
On the north side of her NJ home.
She says these clustered blooms
Remind her of a basket of
Playmobil flowers.
I see sunflowers, tulips,
And daffodils.
But what are these
Bee magnets called?
Do you have any clues?
The bee, of course
Doesn't care.

If this isn't nice, what is?

              ~ Kurt Vonnegut, of course

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

July 2020

Thinking today of Don Watt and the scope of just one visual message...

As most of you know, I was fortunate enough to work for Don Watt for several years at his Bayview studio here in Toronto. He was the unattributed designer of the Canadian flag. It's a symbol now recognized instantly everywhere and brings particular pride and unity to the people in this beautiful country. Don left us in 2009 and I'm still saddened, in particular at this time of year.

One summer while I was working for Don, he invited all of us and our families to his King City farm for a big afternoon of hanging in the sun, swimming in the pool, and eating juicy barbecue. I took my two grandsons, Lucas (then 4) and Jackson (then 6). Lucas was even wearing a shirt with a Canadian Flag on it.

I had borrowed Peter's car for the drive and on the way there I told the boys about how Don had designed that flag. Each time we saw a flag as we drove (and there were many), I pointed it out to them, saying, "There's another one of Don's flags. Look how one great symbol can make so many people proud."

Finally, Lucas said,"He must get very tired painting all those flags!"
"Yes, I did," said Don when I told him as part of introductions, "but every one was fun because I love seeing people enjoy my work."
If this isn't nice, what is?

              ~ Kurt Vonnegut, of course