Monday, April 29, 2013

From the Obscure Way by James Rich

He'll wander blind into the night - -
his path is wrought with peril - -
the flowers and the woodland sprites
have all turned wild and feral

~ Easton's quatrain, from The Obscure Way (working title) by James Rich

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Automated constrained poetry, made from Markov Chains and Project Gutenberg - Boing Boing

From Boing Boing, this on snowball poetry:
Automated constrained poetry, made from Markov Chains and Project Gutenberg - Boing Boing: A "Snowball" is a poem "in which each line is a single word, and each successive word is one letter longer." Nossidge built an automated Snowball generator that uses Markov Chains, pulling text from Project Gutenberg. It's written in C , with code on GitHub. The results are rather beautiful poems (these ones are "mostly Dickens"):
For example and more, follow link.

Friday, April 5, 2013


her hand in slow motion,
a glazed eye,
she watches a fly slowly
wave its legs
in the butter dish.

~ regan lee

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

family picture

like a tooth from an ancient play
the eldest takes guilt wrapped in newspaper
irons the yellowed pages 
before filing it absently in a rusted trunk 
and the key --
long lost by a gleeful prop boy.

wandering alone in a darkened theater
she fondles the green curtains heavy with dust
slipping on dirty masking tape stuck to the floor.

the eldest dimly remembers a line or two
and whispers it, hoarsely,
in the wings.

~ regan lee, 1988


Max in turquoise
is Johnny B. Goode,
slapping green leather
on the dusty deck.

~regan lee
Oregon, 1980s

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Mud Covered Mary

I was nine, probably ten. In my thin green Girl Scout uniform, badge filled sash, heavy white oxfords, little white socks. I knew that there was some mix-up somehow, some weird thing but no proof or even evidence. Gut feelings from a ten year old didn’t count for much. So my grandmother dropped me off at the Parish Hall, where our Girl Scout meetings were held, and drove off. I knew something was wrong when I noticed ... nothing. No other cars, people, little Brownies or my sisters in green. The heavy dark brown doors of the hall were shut, locked. So there I was. Alone in the quiet Saturday schoolyard. Everything shut up; school, hall, even the church. So I waited, trying not to be scared, knowing that eventually my grandmother would return to pick me up. In the meantime, I waited.

I pretty much stayed in the same place; sitting on the rough low stone wall in front of the Parish Hall next to the school, facing the street. The church and church parking lot was to my right, further down.

I sort of wandered around the asphalt covered school yard. Those were the days when the playground equipment set-up was a stark affair. There was a merry go round, right smack on top of the asphalt. No sand, no wood chip coverings, no rubberized surfaces, just the uneven black asphalt. One day I managed to get myself going pretty well on the merry go round and flew off, landing several yards away on my knees. The green and yellow plaid jumpers that were the school uniform offered nothing in way of protection. In my late fifties, I still have the scar that highlights a little hollow in my left knee.

So the large, hot asphalt playground offered nothing of interest. I went back to the low stone wall. It was cooler there anyway, in the shade of the buildings. A small white haired lady walked by me. She was wearing her lace head scarf, carrying her missal, rosary dangling from her hand. I smiled at her; she didn’t smile back. She asked me what was I doing there; she seemed innately suspicious. She wanted to argue with me: “There’s no Girl Scout meeting here!” she said. I felt a little bit like I was leaving my body; this old lady on her way to do her Altar Society business inside the church, was repeating back to me what I just told her. I’m feeling disconnected; why is she doing that? Repeating back to me what I told her: I was waiting for my grandmother; we thought there was a meeting but turned out we got mixed up. In my mind I thought “Lady, do you really think I’d be sitting here in my jerky Girl Scout uniform just for fun?” But I rarely spoke to adults that way so I just sat there, staring at her. She shook her finger at me and walked on.

It was getting cooler. With that, a little dimmer. It seemed an awfully long time; shouldn’ my grandmother be here by now? I see the white haired woman come striding back in the opposite direction, from the church. She’s finished with her official altar arranging business and on her way home. She looks upset, angry; her face is splotched wtih red patches on her thin white skin. She comes right up to me and hisses, spitting a little on me. “How dare you!? WHAT GRADE ARE YOU IN??!! Is it Sister Patrick?! She’ll know, she’ll know!!!” She paused for breath. I have no idea what she’s doing. Before I can answer she goes on.
     “The beautiful Mother! Covered, covered in mud! Just filthy! FILTHY! YOU did it! You’re the only one who’s been here; you did it!”

I told her, simply, I didn’t do anything. Didn’t know what she was talking about.
  “You’re a lying little thing! She was beautiful when I went in; when I came out, she was covered in dirt, her head, covered! Who else could have done this?”

I just looked at her. She was crazy, but I knew that wouldn’t mean anything. One complaint to the nuns would be enough. Logic had nothing to do with anything. She went on her way, mumbling to herself.

I sat there, scared, expecting one of the sisters to come scuttling out from the convent behind the school any minute. My grandmother came, and we went home. I didn’t say anything; not that I wouldn't have been believed, but no point to it. It wouldn’t occur to anyone that this was anything of any importance. So I spent that night, and the next week, paranoid. A nervous wreck, that at any time I’d get pulled into the principal’s office, the old lady with her lace head scarf and rosary trembling with outrage waiting for me.

Nothing happened, and I never heard anything about the statue of the Virgin Mary in the church parking lot being vandalized.

regan lee, march 2013
eugene, or

Thursday, February 28, 2013


the damnation
carnival . . . 
rope slackens
clowns fall
break balloons
echos reverberate
trapped people
mute screams - 
trapeze falls
no net 
no nothing
red splotch
soon brown
soon gone -
pitch another tent
another spike
driven in
loosens -

black cloak settles - 
another missing spike -
tumble off
walls in
to stands
red stains
soon brown
and gone again -
what remains
shattered spikes
unfilled holes
another fading mark - 
crooked necked
red pool
come another fool -

flame eater belched
lost his mind
flesh stains no-
longer real -
martyr muscleman
maimed mutant
faulty barbell
splintered bones
broken spikes
lost splotch
empty hole
never fills
season's close -
another soon to come

~ james rich
hollywood california, 1960s


sculptured in flesh
she lay
her hair folded
among the stars
drying out the moist
of after love

~ james rich
hollywood, california 1960s

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Fog folds

her olive face huddled in army-green,
she rapidly paces the gray alley between
the Chinese-red diner and indigo health food store.

a lanky form shivers in tan; he circles, blocks;
disconcerted by his rage.

"I'm really angry," her husky voice travels on fog folds.

i watch them, slowing my steps.
she shouts, and tense jet-sparkles fall from her black eyes,
the half-moons of purple staying in shadow
on her face.

regan lee
oregon, 1980s

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Blue Lights

         Blue Lights
photo: regan lee
unexpected, blue lights appear
in this isolation, and through
the thin cracks in the rough wood,
glowing mists invite, even while repelling

a cold silence makes itself known, waiting
we hear its breathing

dreams, night walking, forgetfulness
only slivers of mists and light beams remain

jarring realities intrude, mundane violences, abrupt commands
we don’t understand, we don’t remember
but sense invisible connections anyhow

we believe there’ll be a reveal in the retelling, no matter
how fragmented

memory has a sentience all its own

~ regan lee
  october 2010


long and lean, bony really,
Olive arranges herself languidly in the coarse brown chair.

her tied dyed dress made of sheer scarves reveals bare legs, furry armpits and all
 her hair is a dark-massed orchestra wildly out of tune.

she's demanding uppers and coffee and, getting up, heads down the hallway calling out
"Is this your bedroom?" and her best friend Samantha, so damn voluptuous 
in her pink quilted vest, leans over to me, she's whispering assurances:

"It's all right, her mother's an opera singer" but
I don't feel any better.

~ regan lee
 sometime in the 1980s

the black green sea

my mother voluptuous in summer dress,
thick ankle straps,
shoots a man, 
some man there, on the pier

night lights reflecting on black sea water
at eighteen dark, raven haired, 
a hibiscus behind her ear

"Listen, I must tell you
I like to lose control," 
and she falls into the ivy, 
falls into the black-green sea
salt corroding red petals red hibiscus red the red
of blood.

~  regan lee, 198?

Haiku Zasshi Za Publication

From Winter/Spring issue, 1988 of Haiku Zasshi Za, a little publication that came out of Seattle, WA. They published a haiku of mine:

an open window
a telephone rings
cold night air

                                     ~ regan lee

Monday, February 18, 2013

For Jack

For Jack

I already wrote this, gypsy man,
jukeboxes dark, falling off trucks,
tales, spinning,
turquoise shirts glinting in the dark below
following the music, the dance, the fights, the
well behaved, now, on another coast, but just.

Lights out, gone, an eye lost, and a life
Good night, Jack, we ended up badly, booze does that, and fear,
but children and lovers remain, remembering love, passion, drive, of a sorts, creative
churnings around red vinyl tables.

Although, there was that one phone call, facilitated by a friend, across the country,
and tales of Hawaii, Dorthy Dandridge, songs and Catholics oh hell I don’t remember
but you laughed, as you did, and about that eye, we knew that one was coming.

regan lee
october 2010

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Word: "Murder", Covert Experiments

related to post below. realized after I wrote on one word "murder" the word assumed by most was: murder. death killing dying dead violence crime. I however, wrote of birds; as in a 'murder of crows.'

and of the 'one word' find site, my spouse casually wondered if that wasn't a social engineering experiment by various psy op factions. - StumbleUpon

this is a neat exercise: - StumbleUpon.

first one I did; the word was murder:

Of crows. They flew, no, swooped, crying their caws, down onto the rooftops, through the trees, landing with soft thuds, branches swaying. The grey skies full of crows, black shapes oily bright shimmers, following each other, understood where each was to go, to do… I stood there, watching, hypnotized by the sheer dark magic of their number.