Photos for January Stones and April PAD 2012 property of M J Dills (exception 1/16)

Monday, July 15, 2019

My Bro -- September 9, 1946 - April 29, 2019

Yesterday we did a great job of remembering my brother. A memorial in Enumclaw at the VFW Hall was packed with old friends and family, some that came from afar to attend. Here is a poem I wrote about my bro, which I read:

My Bro

A small history about a big person.

My brother, the boy, wanted to please our dad when he signed up for Little League but found the fit of eighty-eight black-and-white ivory keys suited him more than an oak bat and leather glove. Report cards were low on the list of anticipated events but teachers loved my brother. My brother’s favorite-come-in-the-back-door-at-the-end-of-the-day-shout was “what’s for dessert?  My brother was mom’s best guinea pig. Lemon meringue pie, lady-fingers, wedding cake icing, petit fours, peanut sauce and honey mustard dip.

My brother, the teenager, learned how to sweep floors with sawdust at Nelson Lumber & Hardware; turned in his push-broom for a guitar. The Ivy Three. Practice sessions late at night. The Drone.

My brother, the friend, was never at a lack of company. His friends were keepers and band-mates, fans and brothers, cousins, hermits, old, young, digital and analog.

My brother, the musician, played piano from the age of four and took up brass at ten. The only parts of the orchestra my brother didn’t master were woodwinds and reeds, but my brother would blow a tune on a saxophone if challenged. Harmonicas, accordions, trumpets and cornets, set sheets, songbooks, sheet music, late nights, dark roads, local followers, fans, messages on bar napkins and coasters, heavy loads, love letters.

My brother, the actor, had the lead role as Tully Bascomb in The Mouse That Roared, the All-School-Play in 1963. It was a quaint lesson in war that stained his naivety. My brother joined the protest in his own way; Bob Dylan, Pete Seeger, Joan Baez, Woody Guthrie, Phil Ochs, Buffalo Springfield, Hoyt Axton.

My brother, the digger, was hip to Miles and Mercer, Willie and Waylon, Elvis and Elvis, Mavis, Aretha, John, Paul, George, Ringo, Stones, Animals, the Duke, Ray, Dizzy, Louis, Booker T. My brother was the clam-digger winner. Copalis Beach, annual camping corner, musty tent, open fire bacon and egg breakfast, mosquitoes, 6-12, and rain.

My brother, the Parks and Recreation Guy, knew everyone’s name, never missed a wave or hello, drove a loader, could dig a hole and use the right shovel, and didn’t take shit from no one.

My brother, the dad, was more proud of his progeny than anything he ever did. My brother wasn’t called to fatherhood but he wore it like the cloak of a knight. Overseas phone calls, road trips, Mariners, Seahawks, Avery Grace, Marin Skye.

My brother, my bro, hanging tinsel on a real pine tree, one that dad brought down from the hills; sitting on my chest and farting under my chin; hanging in the U District at Coffeehaus Eigerwand, Hippie Hill; teaching me how to use a capo; painting plastic cars with Testor’s enamel paint and letting me paint the wheels silver; sitting in front of the mirror while I trimmed his bangs; visits to Snow Camp; boxing in the basement, learning a left hook; giving me perfume for Christmas when I was sixteen; dime movies at the Roxy; skateboarding on Skateboard Hill; giggling in church, getting scolded; overnights with Grandma and Grandpa, hiding liver and onions under the table; madras shirts and cut off jeans; blue eyes, freckles; Beatle boots, Stetson hats, Rainier Beer belt buckles; old/new Mom tattoo; walrus moustache; authentic, stubborn, stoic; vests and bolo ties; books, penguins, CD’s, LP’s, penguins, coffee mugs, photos, penguins, postcards, ashtrays, penguins.

The longest journey is the one that takes you home.

Me and My Bro
On Vacation
Two Cool Kids

There were so many old schoolmates who I didn't recognize and some I did. I was so grateful to see them all and get some good warm hugs. I don't know how long it'll be before I realize JC is gone. The night he passed, I felt someone at the top of my stairs; it woke me up and I expected the phone call the following morning. I was lucky to be able to be with him that day, April 29th, along with my younger brother, Dana; his two kids, Charlie, and Rosie. 
JC, the Dad, with Charlie 

JC and Jim
I idolized my brother when I was young. He taught me a lot about many things. He was there first and I was his avid student, from babyhood, to teenage years and beyond. We shared a love of music and books. He got to make music his life; I became a mom. We had a wonderful childhood and the words and photos yesterday were a testament to that. I loved listening to his best buddy from kindergarten on, Jim Nielsen, talk about those days and though it made me feel old, it confirmed what I knew to be true: we came up in a magical time.

My brother's son, my nephew, Charlie Lenier, made a great video that I'll post here later, once I get the link. I've got some outtakes from his compilation. 1965; South Dakota; School; and Lance Romance.
Great Kids at a Grand Dam

My brother made an impression on a lot of people. He was referred to as a storyteller, and a man of few words. Obviously he struck different people in diverse ways. One thing we know for sure, he was an incredible musician, of whom Fat Domino expressed his admiration. Yesterday was a testament to how many loved him. It was a surprise when two of the Kingsmen introduced themselves and gave their condolences, having driven up from Oregon, and the remaining members of his great Country Jazz band Lance Romance were in attendance.  

JC was a collector (some might say hoarder) and he didn't accrue just one thing. He had hats, lots of them, ashtrays (someone said the reason you can no longer smoke in bars in the NW is because JC took all the ashtrays), coffee mugs and shot glasses, photographs, CD's, LP's and books. He had far more lawn mowers than a person would ever need. His most treasured collection was his penguins, hearkening back to the the time of his dear Joe, a stuffed penguin he loved from the time if was gifted to him as an infant.  

Life goes on, but there is a part of my history gone now. Once you lose someone like this and they are gone forever, you get the true meaning of "no man is an island," because you are completely aware that a clod has been washed to sea and you are lesser.

Thanks for reading. 

John Carl Rieck
September 9, 1946 - April 29, 2019

Saturday, April 6, 2019


Honored to be accepted to POETiCA REVIEW with my poem Détente:


there was no bloodletting; only sorrow
the will to have a hollow heart …
yet all the tears that once filled an ocean
turned to salt and stood like a pillar in the land of Lot.
we stood akimbo from one another
chins of steel
elbows piercing
all the directions of earth

I write you stones
you send boulders

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Happy Birthday, Mr. Ferlinghetti

March 20 2019

Today Lawrence Ferlinghetti turns 100 years old. When he was much younger and I was younger still, I walked into City Lights Bookstore with eyes wide open, browsed, and purchased Howl, Coney Island of the Mind and Pomes Penyeach by James Joyce
Ferlinghetti was 47 years old and I was 15. I didn’t know who I was talking to at the time, but he and I had a delightful conversation about poetry, writing, and the weather, which was sunny and warm on that San Francisco day. 
Years later, my friend Mary Jo told me it was indeed the poet himself who engaged me that day in silly, flirtatious banter. 
I’m so glad I didn’t know it then. 
At the time I was spellbound by "on a freeway fifty lanes wide/ a concrete continent/ spaced with bland billboards/ illustrating imbecile illusions of happiness." I would certainly have made a fool of myself. 
I was a big Whitman fan then, and was just growing a sense of modern poetry, not the kind we were reading in school. The words fuck and beat were kind of synonymous with not allowed.
I was on a summer trip, driving to California with my art teacher, Sylvia Neth, who wanted me to meet her niece. It was an eyes-wide-open time for my young naive self. Mary Jo and I got along much too well and were comrades in trouble. The things we did then were innocent compared to messes kids get into today. We smoked cigarettes, snuck out the bedroom window, wore very short skirts, read beat poetry, and flirted with 47 year old men. 
Thanks for the memories, Lawrence. I owe you. 

"Poetry is the shadow cast by our streetlight imaginations." LF

Thanks for reading



Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Scarlet Leaf Review

I'm very honored to headline this group of impressive and talented poets today in the Anniversary Issue of Scarlet Leaf Review. These four poems are among my personal favorites that I've written in the past decade. 

~Thanks for reading~

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Down Home Girl

If Robin had girl friends who sang with her back home, this would be how she would have started.
You can have a listen to the Rainbow Girls here.

Image may contain: 3 people, people standing, child, outdoor and nature

I am a fan!

Image may contain: 2 people, people on stage and indoor

Friday, January 4, 2019

Adam Garcia 4 12016

Clothing Not Optional

Amazingly, we see tourists in Puerto Vallarta in grocery stores and shopping malls wandering around in bikinis! Aside from being cold, some are simply not easy on the eye. We can say the same thing about fellows walking down streets (that are not located on or even near the beach) wearing those teeny tiny revealing swimsuits. Leaving nothing to the imagination is not a normal Mexican practice.

Mexican men may pull up their t-shirt on very hot days, exposing their tummies (certainly not attractive, and slightly offensive) but they will not go around the streets shirtless. The beach boys, surfers and fishermen wear shirts and would never dream of parading around in a speedo.

Mexicans take service very seriously and, unless one is in a fine dining establishment, it is unlikely they would ask someone to cover up, but they aren’t amused and will have some trouble communicating with a skimpily dressed customer.

Mexico is primarily a Catholic country. Until recently, women wouldn’t go into a church without a head covering and older ladies still insist on wearing a mantilla on their head. They will openly stare in disdain at young ladies who have no modesty.

Recently we saw a young man asked to leave a beach restaurant. He was treated with respect and no one made a scene but it was also clear that a muscle shirt was not proper attire, no matter how close the ocean.

As visitors, it is our job to be respectful. We can still have a good time. After all, Mexicans are not quiet. They are very colorful and love to enjoy themselves. One glimpse of a holiday calendar leaves no doubt for their penchant to party. But let’s please not offend the locals while we are at it.

There are constant changes in Puerto Vallarta; some good and some to which we need to make adjustments. This is a simple change and it can be made in the dressing room. I’ll cover for you and you can cover for me.

This article first appeared in May 2018 Boardwalk Realty PV

Thanks for reading.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Go Ahead, Call Me Pocahontas

I don’t see the issue with Elizabeth Warren's DNA much different than Trump’s birther movement against President Obama. Trump, and people of his ilk, made such brouhaha that Barack Obama finally had his long form birth certificate made public in 2011, because he considered it was causing a distraction, of which he thought to put an end. Did it make any difference? No, birthers claimed it was a forgery and, to this day, maintain their position.

It wasn’t enough for Elizabeth Warren to say she had empathy for Native Americans because she grew up being told she had Indian blood. Conservative talk show hosts went berserk, grasping any small item they can blow into an outrage. Trump publicly stated he would donate $1 million to a charity of her choice if Warren took a DNA test to prove her heritage. When she acquiesced, he didn’t donate. Surprise.

I grew up with a father who always told us he was part Indian (Native American was not a part of our vernacular at the time.) My mom told me that when she brought him home to introduce him to my grandparents, they referred to him at a half-breed, though he was only 1/16th

My grandparents, like Warren’s grandparents, were not all too happy when my mother showed up with an older black-haired man, whom she’d met three weeks prior, and declared their engagement. Props to my grandparents; they accepted my dad and grew to love him. 

My mother was religious, went to church on Sundays and dragged us children with her, though Dad rarely attended, only when it was a whole family affair, like a baptism, wedding, or funeral. He told me his church was the woods and he worshiped the mountain (Rainier), the stars, sun and moon. He didn’t believe you could easily find God within four walls. 

We knew my great-great-grandmother was Pocahontas. Not the real Pocahontas, my dad would tell us, and that was not her real name, he insisted. Years later, I discovered that women were called Pocahontas during censuses and on marriage certificates, when they couldn’t spell their name, speak English, their husband spoke for them, or they simply didn’t speak up. It was common practice, as calling an Indian woman squaw was completely acceptable, though there is much debate about the use and meaning of squaw. I was called papoose from my earliest memories. It was never said with malice or negativity.

For Elizabeth Warren to be taking heat for claiming her own DNA seems to me just another media circus; I don’t care which side makes claims against her. It has Trump rubbing his hands together with more broken promises and unmitigated glee. Another thing to distract us from real issues, such as 50 white male students of the graduating class of 2019 of Baraboo High School in Wisconsin standing on the Sauk County Courthouse steps with the majority  giving a Nazi sieg heil salute. Comments on the incident have been made by many, from the Democratic Governor-elect of Wisconsin, to the photographer who regretfully took the photo, but the fact remains. Trump has unleashed hatred and malevolence in our country and it’s beyond bullying and pussy grabbing.

Thanks for reading.