Posted in Animals/Spirit Animals, General Interest


Introducing Baxter Dedes, the newest member of the family and 'The Poet by Day' office manager
Introducing Baxter Dedes, the newest member of the family and the new ‘The Poet by Day’ office manager. Baxter is a Rat Terrier and Chihuahua mix … a “Rat-Chi.”

Remembered warmly and with gratitude, Baxter’s predecessors:



“A kind of additional or subsidiary Deity designed to catch the overflow and surplus of the world’s worship . . .  The Dog is a survival — an anachronism.  He toils not, neither does he spin, yet Solomon in all his glory never lay upon a door-mat all day long, sun-soaked and fly-fed and fat, while his master worked for the means wherewith to purchase the idle wag of the Solomonic tail . . .” Ambrose Bierce, The Devil’s Dictionary


Buddy and his best pal.

“A dog teaches a boy fidelity, perseverance, and to turn around three times before lying down.” Robert Benchley


Xiang Xiang’s Ah Man, better known as “Gus.”

“My dog is worried about the economy because Alpo is up to 99 cents a can.  That’s almost $7 in dog money.” Joe Weinstein



“How’s it going, Mr. Peterson?,” asks Woody in Cheers. “It’s a dog-eat-dog world, Woody, and I’m wearing milk-bone underwear.”

© 2016, photos from the family album, Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved

Posted in American History, General Interest, Writers/Poets

Happy Father’s Day with Mexican-American Poet and former California Poet Laureate, Juan Felipe Herrera … the immigrant experience

Juan Felipe Herrara (b. 1948), American poet and writer, photo by SlowKing
Juan Felipe Herrera (b. 1948), Mexican-American poet and writer, photo by SlowKing under GNUFDL

I posted this a few years ago here and just included it in this month’s issue of The BeZine.  I’m re-posting it now because it highlights the quality and character of immigrants to the United States of America, which seems a good thing to do at this time. I’ll post this Sunday’s Poesy later today. 

Juan Felipe Herrera is a Mexican-American poet and performance artist, a writer and cartoonist, a teacher and an activist.

“Many poets since the 1960s have dreamed of a new hybrid art, part oral, part written, part English, part something else: an art grounded in ethnic identity, fueled by collective pride, yet irreducibly individual too. Many poets have tried to create such an art: Herrera is one of the first to succeed.”  Punk Half Panther by Stephen Burt in the New York Times

Herrara incorporates into his writing his experience of family and the life of the compesinos, migrant farm-workers.

“Into the tilted factories, the smeared taxis,
the stunted universities, into the parlor of bank notes,
in the cramped cookhouse where the dark-skinned
humans still stoop and pitch the daily lettuce bags …”

He sometimes tells stories that arise from what is for him a pivotal moment: the early school experience of trying to fit in though he had no English-language skills. He also writes stories that illustrate the problems of immigration, which often separates families.

In 2012, California Governor, Jerry Brown, named Herrera California Poet Laureate, the first Chicano poet to be so honored.

Many of us – like Juan Felipe Herrara – had fathers or grandfathers who came to the United States to make a better life for themselves and eventually for their children and future generations and who went on to make substantive contributions to this country. Sometimes we like to remember and acknowledge them for their vision, courage and hard work. Today seems like a good day to do so. The video below is charming children’s story, A Tale for Father’s Day, about Herrera’s immigrant father. Enjoy!

Happy Fathers’ Day to all the dads and to all the moms who, for one reason or other, are both dad and mom.

Posted in Memoir, Poem/Poetry

You Left to Pirouette on the Moon

800px-Pointe_shoe_ribbonsyou left one winter day to balancé on sunbeams
and pirouette on the moon, artfully swirling
lunar dust and scattering it over our dreams,
sparking our lives with your memory, your love
a legacy of dance for tiny ballerinas

…………see us now . . . 
as well-worn as your old toe shoes

© 2015, poem, Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved; Photo credit ~ pointe shoes by Lambtron via Wikipedia under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

Posted in Flowers, General Interest, Nature, Trees & Gardens

leaping greenly spirits and a blue true dream of sky

i thank You God for most this amazing
day: for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes

(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun’s birthday; this is the birth
day of life and of love and wings: and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)

how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any–lifted from the no
of all nothing–human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?

(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)

– e.e. cummings

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When yet another camera went the way of all things and my eight-year-old flip-phone followed, I decided this is the time to transition to a smart phone. I’m past due and multipurpose tools always appeal. Smart phones are certainty that.

I took these photographs with an iPhone 5c. It’s not surprising that it has a better camera than the Moto G I tried out the week before last. (Photo samples in earlier posts.) The iPhone 5c is a keeper, though clearly I have much to learn about using it as a camera, not to mention much to learn about photography. These are views of the neighborhood and the park, which is so beautiful it puts me right in the spirit of e. e. cummings’ poem above.

© 2014, photographs, Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved

Posted in Nature, Personal, Poem/Poetry

my feasting heart . . .

1385915381i0p98like butterfies battling the wind, these
the quiet afternoons pulsing peace,
Bach on the radio, sustenance simmering
on the stove of my tranquility, the days
chasing night, the nights chasing day,
rhythms caressing my face, love-bites
armouring the leg of my being, heart
beating at one with the sighing Pacific
and only gratitude for the gift of life,
no more scandalized by the news of
death, baptism into heaven, whatever
that means
, but the reports center on
confusion, Kiev, Syria, Afghanistan

easy to foment flash-points for horror,
even easier to forget just how sweet it is
to breathe with the moon and sun and
to grow with trees bending in the storms,
obeisance to the seas and sky and
living on the edge of eternity, time to
give it up, to give-up strife for lent . . .
to never pick it up again, moved only
by the gentle breeze of butterfly wings,
color and transport for my feasting heart

© 2014, poem, Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved; photo courtesy of morgueFile