Monthly Archives: January 2014

Lap Courage

Italian Greyhound

Lap Courage, 8×10, Oil on Canvas

You know how your dog is always braver when he’s in your lap?  He is suddenly fierce, scowls and barks at dogs who moments before were other interesting canines, but have now morphed into intruders?  He acts as if he will vault from your lap and defend the bench, the deck, your yard, …but then he doesn’t? That’s lap courage.

Here’s a poem that so reminds me of Paulette, the beautician in Legally Blonde.  She is so struck with the beauty of the UPS man, that she can’t utter an intelligible sentence.  Here’s what she could have said:

Why I Have a Crush on You, UPS Man

you bring me all the things I order

are never in a bad mood

always have a jaunty wave as you drive away

look good in your brown shorts

we have an ideal uncomplicated relationship

you’re like a cute boyfriend with great legs

who always brings the perfect present

(why, it’s just what I’ve always wanted!)

and then is considerate enough to go away

oh, UPS Man, let’s hop in your clean brown truck and elope!

ditch your job, I’ll ditch mine

Let’s hit the road for Brownsville

and tempt each other

with all the luscious brown foods —

roast beef, dark chocolate,

brownies, Guiness, homemade pumpernickel, molasses cookies

I’ll make you my mama’s bourbon pecan pie

we’ll give all the packages to kind looking strangers

live in a cozy wood cabin

with a brown dog or two

and black and brown tabby

I’m serious, UPS Man.  Let’s do it.

Where do I sign?

— Alice N Persons

Instead, Paulette sings about “Ireland.”  Well, I think all this could happen in Ireland too.

Packer Backer

Green Bay Pug

Packer Backer

I actually painted this 8×10 picture of my darling Pippin a while back, at the beginning of the football season.  Now the season is winding up, but watching football is always the same, isn’t it?  At least in terms of our comfort foods, a beer, a Bloody Mary, nachos….

Here is a poem for football fans.  It goes along with nachos and beer.  It’s about iceberg lettuce, the football fan’s health food.

The Iceberg Theory

all the food critics hate iceberg lettuce.

you’d think romaine was descended from

orpheus’s laurel wreath,

you’d think raw spinach had all the nutritional benefits attributed to it by popeye,

not to mention aesthetic subleties worthy of

verlaine and debussy.

they’ll even salivate over chopped red cabbage

just to disparage poor old mr. iceberg lettuce.

I guess the problem is

it’s just too common for them.

it doesn’t matter that it tastes good,

has a satisfying crunch texture,

holds its freshness,

and has crevices for the dressing,

whereas the darker, leafier varieties

are often bitter, gritty and flat.

it just isn’t different enough and

it’s too g_damn american.

of course a critic has to criticize:

a critic has to have something to say.

perhaps that’s why literary critics

purport to find interesting

so much contemporary poetry

that just bores the s__t out of me.

at any rate, I really enjoy a salad

with plenty of chunky iceberg lettuce,

the more the merrier,

drenched in an italian or roquefort dressing.

and the poems I enjoy are those I don’t have

to pretend that I’m enjoying.

by Gerald Locklin



Sampson and Brandi Redo


The subject of this painting, an Italian Grehound named Samson, is owned by a friend, Brandi.  I love these dogs’ doe-like eyes and refinement.  Samson is so fragile-looking and gentle.  He just begs to be cuddled with.

I finished this 6×6 painting of an Italian Greyhound last Sunday.  It was a perfect snowy day outside and I was working in the studio, semi-watching (i.e. taking occasional glances towards) Star Wars and The Sound of Music.  I don’t have a DVD player in my studio, and ordinarily I listen to audio books;  I just have a VCR.  However, VCRs were in existence a lot longer than DVD or HD Streaming have been around, so although I have an ever-growing DVD collection my VHS movie collection is much larger, and of course, I bought all my old, favorite movies as soon as VCRs were invented, so the studio theater remains important.

Here is a poem on the subject of our corporeality.   I like the way Judith Sutphen describes the resignation with which we all see our own bodies.

Living in the Body

Body is something you need in order to stay

on this planet and you only get one.

And no matter which one you get, it will not

be satisfactory.  It will not be beautiul

enough, it will not be fast enough, it will

not keep on for days at a time, but will

pull you down into a sleepy swamp and

demand apples and coffee and chocolate cake.

Body is a thing you have to carry

from one day into the next.  Always the

same eyebrows over the same eyes in the same

skin when you in the mirror, and the

same creaky knee when you get up from the

floor and the same wrist under the watchband.

The changes you can make are small and

costly — better to leave it as it is.

Body is a thing that you have to leave

eventually.  You know that because you have

seen others do it, others who were once like you,

living inside their pile of bones and

flesh, smiling at you, loving you,

leaning in the doorway, talking to you

for hours and then one day they

are gone.  No forwarding address.

by Joyce Sutphen