Thursday, April 30, 2009

This Is My Body, The Flow Of Words

Right about now, at year's end, I recognize that I was really branching out through the blogs, because I recognize who I wrote the second poem for. You will of course know who you are. :)

Here are two poems about a tender heart.

This Is My Body

I am embodied
Like rivers in the homeland
Of my ancestors,
Like the way the birds
Fly in the alpine forest
Above my altar,
Like my blood flows, held
Within my heart's encounter
And how love grows there.

December 30, 2008 10:00 AM


The Flow Of Words

Her tender heart sings,
And peeking around her hair,
Shy eyes barely there.

She stands alone in the stream
Words she writes flow past her knees.

If I give myself
Perhaps she will let me see
As she turns my way.

December 30, 2008 11:00 AM

What Happened

Too many extra things to do, a little too long at work, then some service work, and I had to look after my renter's cats, nice guys, Roger Ramjet, Hero Of Our Nation, and Samuel. I hope I will post tonight

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Just Before He Died, At Year's End

I have had old cats. My last has reached nineteen. She's fragile now but has her eyes. I swear sometimes she's deaf. I can run the vacuum cleaner right next to her. But when I play the keyboard, she will leave after a short while and I am sure that some frequency bothers her. I don't think it's my music per se, but some of the sub or overtones, perhaps beyond my hearing that bothers her in the electronics. But when I pop the catfood can, she hears that.

The last one that died, died at nineteen. I kind of doubt she's going to make it much longer. But there was Raggedy Blue. He came to us in 1985, a stray. It turned out he was a Red Birman, probably purebred, but he had a ragged ear, probably a cat claw mark. His eyes were the most intense blue. Hence Raggedy Blue, or Blue, or Rags, or Bluerags. He was his own cat. He loved children. At the last, he moved next door for the days because I was not home and they were, and they gave him heat. This was quite all right with them. Raggedy Blue was one of those cats, anybody who liked cats liked Raggedy Blue. He loved heat. When he finally failed, he was twenty three.

This poem is about Philip Berrigan Cat, who died at nineteen. He had cataracts and was blind, but he could still navigate, but near the end, he wandered off once, down the street and that same neighbor brought him back. He was in the middle of the street caterwauling. He was lost.

Just Before He Died

He was nineteen then,
Blind cloudy eyes, ragged fur,
Smelly skinny cat.

His place was an old pillow
On the shelf in my garage.

Sometimes he would wail
God awful loud like the small
Kitten he once was.

December 30, 2008 8:17 AM


In this poem I speak to the year as if she were my lover.

At Year's End

This year's journey west
Was a windy path high up
In the mountain air.

I have reached the edge
Of things, stand still here and look
Back the way I came.

I feel your tug soft
In my hair, in the essence
Of your last perfume.

December 30, 2008 9:17 AM

Monday, April 27, 2009

How I Make It Work, Mauve Perfume

Where do these things come from? Well of course I shoot tangents off of other people and ideas I find, but here's the other part...

How I Make It Work

I shall fall into
The gap between now and now,
The pause in the pause.

This is how I make it work.
This is what I do these days.

When I come back - look!
Here's an entire green poem
Fresh from the white light.

December 29, 2008 7:47 PM


...and here's another version of the same loop.

Mauve Perfume

The soul of me, freed
By the feel of your pink voice,
Skims treetops at speed,

Headed for the solar wind
To tack there, dive deep, aim for
Mother earth, the core
Of me, the heat of my heart.

It's your mauve perfume.

December 29, 2008 9:09 PM

Sunday, April 26, 2009

My Whole Life, The Back Story

This is a true story. I don't know how it goes for you but for me everything important in my life has happened to me. I have no clue about actually deciding and then being the captain of my fate. Where I live and what I do, who I married and who came after, how I finished my degree, how this blogging happened, all of it turns on little things that mushroomed and those little things weren't what I chose. They happened. The things I tried to do on my own initiative all blew up in my face when I was very young. What I trust it is, my life has been God led. That started when I was nineteen really and the first part nearly killed me. Then it got really scary. Then it started to straighten out. Then there was a huge reckoning. Then the path that led here began. Now I am old :)

My Whole Life

My whole life has turned
On doors like these, doors
At this moment open, then
Closed forever more.

Doors I enter once
And after the whole world's changed.

And here's me knowing
That if I missed them,
My life would break, I would die.
And here's me so sure
I can't have done it
Without you or him or pluck.

December 29, 2008 3:42 PM


Well, here's the back story and even though I wrote the poem, I have no idea what the front story is. It might be something that happened to me in some other life. It didn't happen in this one. I don't even remember now where it was I wrote this one. This was the period of my layoff and I was sitting at home rather than at work having the time of my life chasing blogs and all that. One of the things I like about poetry, I don't have to only write my current life, not any more. I can make this shit up.

The Back Story

When I stood in defiance
And they cut me down
Then strung me high up,
Stripped, exposed, they laughed at me.
Those who passed stared or
Looked away from me
But not one said anything.

That’s when she got called, taunted,
Or else comforted
By idiots who
Couldn’t say but stupid stuff.

But God help me, please!
I would. I’d do it again!

December 29, 2008 4:17 PM

Sunday, study list

Sometimes I am busy with taking things in. Lately I have been reading non-fiction. The book 1491 by Charles C. Mann is highly interesting to me, a serious review of the latest research and scholarship on what the world lost and gained when European man found his way into the Americas. It is now quite clear that the sophistications of civilized Indians were in certain ways and at certain times far in advance of other civilizations elsewhere on the planet. Things kept happening, as they do everywhere. They Maya were their own worst enemy, for example, with help from their neighbors before the Europeans came. But the worst things that happened to Indians were the inadvertent plagues brought by Europeans post Columbus. The diseases swept the Indian cultures prior to the actual arrival of European man anywhere except the Eastern coastlines in North America. Disease was the primary ruination of the Inca. There is no longer any question of this, though as late as the Eighties it was still in some question. The Indian populations prior to Columbus throughout the Americas was quite high, more than in Europe by far, so successful were the Indian ways of managing their land. Agriculture was everywhere and many forests were actually managed to enhance edible plants. But by the time Europeans found these locations, the Indians had already been wiped out by plagues and their works lay fallow.

Now I am reading Steven Pinker's The Stuff Of Thought, subtitled Language As A Window Into Human Nature. Pinker is a psychologist attached to Harvard, but he mainly works as a Linguist, using language to study mind.

On the telly, as an alternative to ordinary programming, I have currently the course Dark Matter, Dark Energy: The Dark Side Of The Universe, offered through the Teaching Company, taught by Professor Sean Carroll, California Institute of Technology. Backed up waiting is another course Quantum Mechanics: The Physics Of The Microscopic World, taught by Professor Benjamin Schumacher, Kenyon College. These are not nuts and bolts, heavy math courses. They are in depth survey courses.

I have used the Teaching Company many times, taking several music courses, science and philosophy courses, religious studies and linguistics. This is an excellent option for continuing education as long as you don't care about degrees and transcripts, a way to gain college level learning in a really wide range of subjects, all on cd or dvd and offered with a guide and as an extra, full course transcripts if you want. The company emphasizes the humanities, literature, history, music and art, but also economics, science and math. More.

The costs are reasonable when you use the sales they run, basically cheaper then per unit than college is.

Saturday, April 25, 2009


You all seem to be busy with spring, and me, I had no heart for blogging today either. So tonight is a night off. Just leaving this to say so...

Friday, April 24, 2009

I'll Play Such A Lick, The Flash Of Recognition

Do you recall the story about Robert Johnson, that he met the devil at the crossroads and made a pact, why he could play the way he could. Stevie Ray Vaughn took the role and demonstrated the thing. Here is another crossroads.

I'll Play Such A Lick

Here at the crossroads
I shall bring out my guitar
And play such a lick
The world will begin.

You will come down the bright lines
Of the eternal highway
To stand before me.
I will mute my sound and bow,
Then will gather all.

December 29, 2008 9:27 AM


The laughing Buddha, if you have one, maybe in wood, maybe in bronze, then you are supposed to rub his shiny belly for luck. Here is another appearance of the Laughing God.

The Flash Of Recognition

Round bellied laughter,
Shiny bronze smile,
The glint shows in my eye
And in yours the flash
Of recognition.

The laughing god
Resumes his journey
As we prepare for ours.

December 29, 2008 1:15 PM

Thursday, April 23, 2009

To Start This Trek, Haunted

The man willing to take the journey in the first poem is the man of the second poem.

To Start This Trek

Terrible journey
From this place just to arrive
At your cottage door.
I need newer shoes
To start this trek through the wild
And a full pack strapped
Snug on my body
And I'll carry shelter too,
Which I will need twice.

I'll sing to spirits
I encounter on the way
That they let me pass.

All this in my heart,
Fear and hope and grit,
I don't know if you'll be home.

December 29, 2008 9:04 AM


One of the things I do is read for the double meaning. As far as I am concerned, loving a woman is not clearly distinguishable from loving God. I discovered that years ago when listening to popular music on acid, that it was often possible to hear the music as spiritual and aimed at God. Ever since that time I am able to have this kind of double vision. The best times of my life have been when I am in love with someone and equally able to know that I am loving God. That is why I know that for me God is equally Goddess.


I wake in empty
Space, in your scent left behind.
It's been years, but still
This happens to me.

December 29, 2008 9:22 AM

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Scarlet Birds, The Laughing God

Here is a poem about words

Scarlet Birds

Indeed words fly by
The place I've found near your house.

They fly like scarlet
Birds do when amazed
By your sudden bright presence.

I want to grow wings.

Please take these words in.
Let them light on your perches
Array them round you.

December 28, 2008 8:35 AM


This is a theme, an image embedded in my spiritual walk, a vision of my relationship with God and God with me, except for the giggling part. I take all this too serious, really. I am grateful that my age is shifting the shape of things so I can write a poem like this.

The Laughing God

Here's the happy god,
The one who still laughs with me
But I catch his heel
And I won't let go
Though he reach down and touch me
Like a surgeon's knife.

Pull me out of here.
That's what I demand of him,
This popular god.
He twitters, giggles.
He does a spry godly dance.
I have to let go.

December 28, 2008 12:25 PM

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

A Sudden Sideways Blow, This Empty Day

I have skipped two poems. They didn't measure up to my instinct today. I have no idea what you would have thought.

Today I thought I was having a difficult day until I found out on the way home that someone had an accident miles down the road and shut down the highway BOTH ways. Then before they could clean up they (whoever they are) had to investigate the scene. It was a very bad accident. The trouble with the Portland Metro is that there are very few ways to get anywhere. My normal commute is between a half hour and one hour under normal conditions. I had to go another much less easy route and it took me over two hours to get home. I knew it was hopeless. So I just settled in and everything went fine.

My allergy condition has gone deep into my bronchials but since the virus is gone I have enough energy to do my stuff. I just suffer a very bad cough and have to wait patiently for that all to be gone.

Work is interesting as I untangle the way to replace the bottom of a baker's fine sugar bin that is rated for about 70,000 pounds of sugar when full, and then to put in new equipment to sift and meter the sugar flow beneath that bin, hitting the target of the existing pneumatic sugar pipe line that allows the use of three other bins, one bigger and two the same size. This puts me on what we call the scale floor, because we do meter and keep records by weight, tracking the weight changes of the bins using 4 load cells each bin, each cell rated at 10 tons each. The bins themselves do weigh a bit too, perhaps 5 tons each. The scale floor is a dusty place, a whole bunch of sugar and flour passing through gets loose. Each night I have sugar all over me, just getting the dimensions and understanding I need to do this planning design and drafting.

In this next poem I take on a role. It is more likely that you would turn around and slap me back. I make no claims to be a Zen master. I do understand the value of surprise. That happened to me, though the wielder of the stick was a very different event.

A Sudden Sideways Blow

How would I do it?
How would I give you the chance?
The sky should open.
The winter should splash
From the weighty impact truth
Offers the wild heart.

I will take my pole,
My slitted green bamboo staff,
Give you a sudden
Serious sharp whack
When you least expect my strike,
Just at the right time.

That's when you will disappear.

December 28, 2008 11:49 AM


This next poem is a true story. This was a wonderful day.

This Empty Day

This day is empty,
Not even my poem is
Here in this one day.

I am at rest, nothing done.
I lie so still my cat looks
For me without hope.

I watch the light slowly change,
The motes drifting down.

December 28, 2008 12:03 PM

Heart Moon

Okay, here's a repeat from my early posts, one of my favorite poems...

Heart Moon

Like rooms in a house,
I walk through gray tender thoughts
Of my long chased dreams.

Under the porch lie the strays
That rattle like angry snakes.

In my daylight hills
God moves, and coyotes move too.
My heart moon rises.

Temp Hiatus

I might post tonight. I needed all last evening, had no time to post. Life is hard, then you die. :)

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Anonymity, Impermanence

I am really bad at names. I fear I am too self centered, but when my anxiety subsides I think it is more about not being able to remember things that don't immediately connect. Your name is not my experience of you, it is another thing, a sound. It doesn't connect for me. I discovered that I had that problem when I was required to learn foreign language in high school. Lists of words to memorize just killed me. I did better with some connections because they tied to something else, like Spanish ventana for window is ventilation. Or casa leads to castle. But that is not so obvious in many words. In music I have the same trouble. I can't "read" music even though I have all the symbols and can sight read for singing as long as it isn't really strange music. No matter what I do it seems, because I cannot tolerate the deadly work of memorizing past this way that meaninglessness slides off my brain. I have done that, like with the Sanskrit mantra I chant, but it seems to take me a long time to wear the grooves into my brain's surface. I am really bad at names.


I get all crossed up
Trying to name you.
You squirt out from under thumbs
Like globs of quicksilver do,
Rolling to a stop
Right beside my heart.

Naming is awkward,
A wart on my thumb
Or between my fingertips.
I've studied ways of speaking
Without naming you,
I wish for no names.

December 27, 2008 9:19 AM


Now about change...I don't really have something growing on my nose that I know of, but it makes my point.


I say I like change
But I'm probably lying.
I only like those
Parts I want to change
When they change my way, not yours.

Yesterday I found
Something new growing
On my nose and I thought, Shit!
Guess I hate this change.

December 27, 2008 9:45 AM

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Desire, A Solitary Man

Every main religious impulse in the world comes to terms in some way with a past that is lost and a present that is a poor shadow. It is no accident that so many people who reach the spiritual high ground will claim it is wierdly like remembering what always was, not like discovering some new place, some place never been. No. It is always going home. The Judaeo-Christian-Islam complex speaks of expulsion from the garden. Hindus (and Buddhists) speak of the cycle of the ages and we near the nadir, the Kali yuga. Aboriginal visions speak of an age before this one when things were very different. It is this stream that impressed Jung into asserting that there is an instinctive mental life of image and symbol that must be taken into account in any fully wholesome healed life. To recall the deep places is to recall the pain of loss.


If I were warlock
Enough, I would reach into
The heart of the world
And heal the old pain.
Then I would spread warmth and peace
Like a velvet cloth
Of rich royal red
In a river at flood tide
To soothe our tired lives.

December 26, 2008 4:21 PM

I want you. But not you. I can't reconcile with your otherness. I miss you. I hate missing you. You are too different, not worth it. I will die without you. I hate that too. Not you. I don't hate you. I love you. I hate my need. I hate my shortness of breath. I hate my loss of balance. I eat too much, drink too much, play too hard, obsess too easily, show my panic to clearly, pull into solitude to simplify. I take all this to my guru, saying I wish to climb to heaven. He sends me back to you.

A Solitary Man

So solitary
In the mist, the snow, empty
Space, cold, cold, lonely.
I stand upright, still,
With my thorns out and waiting.
Who will dare touch me?
I've had quite enough.
I've withdrawn to this one spot,
This cold lonely spot,
Hoping I'll be safe.

If you come, be smooth, serene.
Don't startle me now.
No place left to go.
But I miss you, I miss you,
Brittle without you.

December 27, 2008 8:20 AM

Friday, April 17, 2009

A Holy Moment, Get It Or Not

Here is what happens. It cannot happen in solitude, even though most of the work is solitary work, and remains so throughout the life. There is other work, perhaps more important, called service, yet that is not the necessary solitary work which can bring you to the place where it happens. Question. Is it important that it happens? Answer. Silence. Yet service is the thread that binds it all into a useful whole, one foundation on which it is possible to erect the bridge. And yet the energy comes not from the service but from the solitary work. And yet the success comes not from the solitude but from the relationship. And further, the success is not mine, nor is it yours. Thinking "my success" is to fall yet further in.

A Holy Moment

It's not your finger
But your eyes that take my soul.
You point up and out,
While I fall into
The song praising the shine
In your holy eyes.

It's the flow of it,
Eye to soul, finger to me
Through heaven's wide gate.
What happens to me
Next is beyond my best words,
Beyond thought or reach,

Beyond your soft breath.

December 26, 2008 8:52 AM

I am sure that the poetry I belong to is poetry that is spoken, chanted, sung. Not as a song is sung musically (though that too) but as a spell is sung, chanted, Spoken. To SPEAK a spell is a statement of power, and yet power in this sense is indistinguishable from love.

Get It Or Not

True vision calls for song
As surely as the heart calls
For your love, for mine.
Yet not many see,
Nor it seems should they claim sight
Or already would.
This is all God’s choice
As much as it’s yours or mine.
We get it, or not.

This cannot be taught.

December 26, 2008 9:40 AM

Friday, April 10, 2009

What Happens Loving You, What I Did This Christmas

Christmas Day in my house is a quiet time these days. I have no family near by. My cat doesn't care, nor do I. There are no Christmas decorations out. I have them but haven't used them in years. My wife and I were collecting special ornaments and I still have them packed away but haven't put a tree up in years. However, my AA home group offers a Christmas pot luck. I always go to that. This year that meant someone came by and picked me up since the roads were impassable to ordinary vehicles. In the morning I read something written by Sharon Salzburg and it led to this poem.

What Happens Loving You

What happens loving
You, my soul becomes spacious.

I am like a small
Container alone.
The agues of life enter,
Dissolve like salt does,
I am embittered.

Now I'm so spacious, open,
I hardly notice.


After Christmas Day was done, I wrote this to record the day.

What I Did This Christmas

Feast among old friends
Who gather in the lifeboat
And will not let go.
Enfolded, embraced,
Seeing eye to eye in this:
Life is too precious,
Hearts too meaningful,
Souls too beautiful to lose:
I won't let you go -

If this is possible at all,
I will not let you go.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

How It Was Once, How It Ends

This was the day before Christmas and I was seriously snowed in. Sitting here at the computer station, my only real contact. Oh I could have gone out, and the next day some of my more mobile friends began shuttling me to places. I didn't have to shop at all. I had no need for Christmas in my house, and I was well stocked with all necessaries. Nonetheless, this is where my poetry went.

Here is yet another return to that turning point moment in my life, yet another way to try to describe what happened to me back in the day.

How It Was Once

Infinity in cracks,
In the small gaps between ticks
Of the wild world clock.

I felt that gap once as clear,
As sure as my need for air.

I was eternity
And I died uncounted deaths
Before I returned.

And here again, yet another way the world ends.

How It Ends

The world ends sideways.
You and I will still argue,
That’s what we must do
Or else disappear.
Small and petty thoughts of you
Curl my brain waves up,
Drive out the gray thoughts
Of the dissolving last days,
Of “Where will we go?

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The Human Condition, Saved By Ravens

There is a trick to it, to most of it. The simple people (I don't mean stupid) are the best at seeing the trick. Most of us are just more complicated than is really good for us. Well. If you can see really complex threads and structures then you get to build huge metaphors and that makes for better art. But everyone knows how easy it is for artists to be miserable people. The truly happy artist is an unusual sort. I know in my case that when I am extraordinarily happy my own art stops in favor of the savor :) I can get up and do it again artistically out of a sickbed. Hmmm. There is a trick to seeing the simple stuff that just is too close in. I am too used to expect complexity and sure everything has to be complex. So much actually is complex. I really "hate" the guys who insist on over-simplifying stuff. Actually they scare me. I think they can do stuff like invade Iraq. Simplistic is not simplicity. And yet, simplicity...'tis a gift to be simple, 'tis a gift to be free, 'tis a gift to get down where we ought to be...

The Human Condition

I live isolate
As I am sure you do too,
This much is common

To us, to the rest of us
As well. This is just the truth.

But I'm not unique
Since we are alike in this
And this is true too.


I don't know what my intro has to do with the poem exactly except that I try to illustrate seeing closer in as I tried to describe it.

This next poem is so symbolic I am not sure I understand what I mean. The story is I am on thin ice and get out of that situation through an intervention. What situation? Oh. I carry illusions but will die without them. Hmmm. So I get dumped in safer conditions and get to keep my illusions.

Once I really was stripped of my illusions. That was in 1966. I am still recovering. Be careful what you ask for. I didn't even ask, and it wasn't unpleasant. In fact it was a terrific joyous experience. I am one who knows that when the illusions are gone things get pretty good. But you can't live here there or there here. Not without tremendous training and support. Well there, now. I bet this is as cryptic as the ravens.

I was snowbound, the day before Christmas. This poem was written that morning. We don't have many ravens in Gladstone, but there are many crows. We never have cold enough weather long enough to ever see a frozen river.

Saved By Ravens

I take one more step.
The cracks radiate from me,
The wierdest high whine
Tells me I'm all done with this.

This ice will not hold my world.
I am too burdened
With illusion, too heavy,
But I'll freeze naked.

I look up. Ravens
Have gathered. I have become
A spectator sport.

They descend, gently grab me,
So many hold me, lift me
And dump me in snow
At the edge of this thin ice.
Then they fly away.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Clarity Of Mind, Slaying The Dragon

A while back I submitted poetry to Jo and Christines' publishing venture, and I appeared with one poem in the spring issue. I submitted six. This is one of the other five, one that I am partial to because it highlights one of the ways that I don't seem to fit this world very well.

I don't do well with repetitive work. It turns meaningless and painful very quickly for me. I am so blessed that I was given a way to make a living that has very little repetitiveness in it. I go through things for the first time or just a few times, all the time. In fact before I was about twenty years along in this gig, I more or less was terrified under discipline much of the time because I had never seen stuff before so often. Now I am at least reasonably familiar with most of what I do, no longer have to logic it out under such a rigid discipline. Certain aspects of computer access have really helped. God bless the internet. This first poem touches on repetition.

Clarity Of Mind

I get the broom out,
Looks rather worn, used before,
Which makes me snuffle
About the state of things.

Something in me is sure stuff
Done should stay done, if only
For awhile, but no-

Here is the floor of my mind
All dusty again.


And here is one of my love poems. I suppose that will be obvious. I am just a shameless romantic. I really want to believe that love is all there is. Here is a line from a prayer that I offer up at least a few times a week...May I perceive the love I know exists and disregard the rest. I try to live this way.

Slaying The Dragon

How would I know you
When you remove your red robe
And I see the sky?
Who could you be then,
After the act is over
And I am stripped down?
What would happen then,
After I confess my lack
Before your deep eyes?
All these questions slay
The dragon in my open
Wounds, my blood, my song.

Monday, April 6, 2009

No Return, Making Love

Here are the end and the beginning. With the beginning is the ecstatic. With the beginning is the presence of God. But at the end, at this end, there is nothing but the remains, the shards and the fusion of memories into the slag of dullness and loss. The first poem was written late in the day on 22 Dec. The second poem was written at noontime on the 23rd. In the background, my work is coming to an end for the year and perhaps longer. It turned out that my dry spell lasted until the end of February but I never know how long these things will last.

No Return

I look out on glass,
Miles, glass molten, then frozen
Seas, glass left behind
After the hot white blast,
The wind and black thunderclap
Of hopeless despair,
Of me losing you,
Of you looking back blindly
After seeing this day.


Making Love

Purity and Peace
Made sweet love in the garden.
Purity withdrew.
Gravid Peace gave birth.
The babies lay in the stream,
The stars awakened,
Kissed the babes awake,
And the world sang a new song.

What of you and me?

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Right Sized, Never Ending

I have a relationship with a power greater than myself. That is what AA calls it. If I did not have this relationship I would have a train wreck because I would not be able to stay sober. I know this may not be everyone's story and that is okay with me. It is certainly my story.

Right Sized

The way you level
Me - beyond my wanton grasp,
Beyond my dreaming,
Beyond the music
I make for you when I can.
You are the high slopes.

Leveled like any
Ordinary citizen
Of this old planet,
I once again can
Walk among friends and strangers
And they never know.


Here I am again. High and low. I can't go into the heights without also diving into the depths. At one point I was required by my circumstance to seek codependency treatment. In the interest of possible insurance support of the treatment he declared me cyclothymic. Bipolar to a lesser degree, in fact to the degree that it actually works creatively when I am up. And I don't go that far down, but can get dark enough. Like with this one.

Never Ending

The tears and anguish
Between us as we quarrel
Seem to be the point.
We forget the subjects,
Remember the way we hurt.
I want us to stop.

I am arrogant.
I hold on with iron grip.
Really, you should stop.
But no, there you are.
You won't let it go either.
This makes my head ache.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Spiritual Journey, Delusion

Here's another time, a very short time with the complete other side coming out. This was last Dec. 21, and right at noon on that day. I don't remember the impulse for either, what inspiration came. I will simply say that I basically believe that anything I am capable of thinking up poetically I am capable of living or have lived in some way. So here are two poems. I am quite sure they are connected, but there is a distance between them too. I am afraid I had to work at the first one a little longer. The second one was done in fifteen minutes.

Taking a second look, waking up, getting spiritual help when I try to follow the crowd and it is not right for me. That has happened more than one time in my life, where circumstance conspires against me and pushes me in the direction that I would have chosen had I been wise. That's why I think of God as wily like Coyote is reputed to be. He tricks me sometimes.

Spiritual Journey

That door closed for me
Not that I wanted it to
But it slammed shut, bang!
Sometimes I'm lonely
On this side, as if
The joy is all over there,
Behind that locked door.

Then I remembered.
I had no reason to go
Through it anyway,
Just followed the crowd.

I looked over my shoulder,
Found another life.


This next poem was far too easy to write. I am in the unenviable position of being perfectly capable of following delusion awake, of knowing that I am deluded and going there anyway, of living in the impending consequence saying I knew better, wondering how the Hell can I do this to myself and why? Why? WHY?


You make me your slave,
Paint my eyes with false colors,
Tell me your true lies.
Why do I believe?

I woke up today, again
You brushed me with sweet
Falsehoods. I want them.
God help me, I do want them.
I'll do anything.

Friday, April 3, 2009

On The Lam, Plowed Fields

I have run into this all my life. When things get hairy, I lose stuff. I don't mean I lose stuff because things got hairy, not stuff obviously connected, but other stuff, even really weird stuff. The divorce is grinding along and something happens and all of a sudden I have clipped a car, grabbing the rear bumper by my license plate holder. That was just enough to break that car loose, caused a bad head on further down and I lost my license holder. I was in a place I would never have been had I not been losing my wife. I lost a bunch there even though the car came out okay and I wasn't even cited. The other driver was speeding way fast. It was obvious that was what had happened. But it still haunts me. More often the loss is simpler. Here it's shoes.

On The Lam

I lost my damn shoe,
Made it hard to toe the line
But I had to run
And it just came off.

When you run from the dope cops
Sometimes it happens
like that. Jumped fences,
Hid in back yards, under trucks,
Threw the other shoe
Away, saved my life.


Threw the other shoe away and saved my life....sacrifice as a sacred act under duress leads to divine intervention. Whether it really does or not, that is the intent of sacrifice, no matter when and where it appears in the spiritual walks that we do as people intent on a relationship with God. The price of that relationship is simply there. I have had a lifelong struggle with the cost of having God in my life. It seems a true thing. It happens in my life whether I like the idea or not. It is equally true that the idea of enforced loss revolts me, and I do revolt. Then when things happen too fast I end up inadvertently sacrificing, by accident. I just am not capable enough to keep my shit. Damn it.

Off in Utah seagulls show up. There is that old story of the locust plague and the gulls came and saved the Mormons. In Idaho too, there are gulls in the plowed fields. This was a photo Robin Starfish put up on his Motel Zero site. That photo had an air about it and I went to this place:

Plowed Fields

Off in the plowed fields
I saw evidence of you.
The gulls who loved us
Remain in furrows
Searching for your long shadow
Now that you are gone.

As they look they find
Tasty things where your shadow
Once was, and I ache
To know I've lost you.
I search plowed fields in my life.
I too call like gulls.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Beneath Ice, The Hermit Side Of Me

But on the other hand, look at it this way...Here are back to back poems, not a half hour apart, written over lunch on Dec. 19. To me they are definitely related. The idea came from Lucy K., a lovely expat English lady who lives in Britanny, and who writes the most amazing poetry and other things. As well she posts breathtaking photos. I would be gushing if it weren't simply true. Check out her blog, box elder if you have the time. There was a wintertime photo of a lilypad under ice.

Beneath Ice

I woke up so cold,
Looked above my head, saw ice.
I float beneath ice,
In an awkward state
Of mind, like a lily pad
Turning red in shame.

Why I should be shut off so,
Is this somehow my choosing?

I do live alone. It's true. I am a sloppy but not dirty housekeeper of a house with too much stuff in it even though I do get around to using all of it. I don't hoard things, but I have exercise machines, and a computer station :) and across from that I have my music keyboard, a Yamaha Motif ES6 and all the accoutrements, and I have books all over, and I have three guitars, each a different kind of instrument, full electric, acoustic/electric, and acoustic. I have too much stuff and no room really for guests. My house is small, a two bedroom but only one bathroom. I already know if I partnered up we would have to live elsewhere. And if I don't, somewhere down the line I will have to move into the back bungalow, a large studio, and rent this bigger house out. I will have to get rid of good stuff! Right now it's the other way.

It's not quite true that I seldom go out but that is not what you might think, because I go to daily AA meetings in a daily meeting room where many of us know each other very well and love each other pretty much. Most people would say I don't often go out, meaning like to dinner, or to a show, or some other event. I don't go out of town for the fun of it. I trained up as a broke married man and I still am most comfortable going home to my marriage even though it doesn't exist anymore.

And of course now there's this daily blog :)

The Hermit Side Of Me

I praise the hermit
Side of me for keeping house,
Makes me feel at home.
The right music plays.
The lighting is not too harsh.
No one comes near me.
My home is not large,
Has the things I need in it
I seldom go out.

Then you come by, grin
As you evict me, tell me
It's good for my soul.

You say I live in my head.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

My Strange Presence, The Crane's Eye

Birds figure high with me. Small warm blooded dinosaur descendants, already around when the dinos fell, along with crocs and gators and a few smallish and one or two larger type lizards, and with the turtles and tortoises, they survived whatever that was.

The eyes of birds are direct windows into ancient life for me. I love that I feed the wild ones. I especially loved being very close to a yearling bald eagle one time. Here are two bird poems that both came in the morning of Dec. 19.

This first one is about ocean shore birds. Have you ever been on the beach of a morning when the fog isn't really fog but is still there, thin enough the sun shines through and gives a bronze cast to things? I used to live on the Oregon coast in the town of Newport, got married there back in 1975. We lived in a house in Nye Beach and were a block from the cliff that gave access to the beach, beside the Hotel Gilmore, a flop house and dope house in those days. Years later, that became an upscale bed and breakfast called the Sylvia Beach Hotel, with rooms that took literary names and decor, like the Charles Dickens room, for example. You could walk down the cliff face on a path and stroll the beach for a long distance, and some days were magic.

My Strange Presence

In the haze, gold eye
Shines with its own fuzzy light
Giving gulls the high
Signal, permission
To enter the game, gamble
On my strange presence
As I stand beneath
The flock of them approaching
The shore where they live.


I love it when I can write one long sentence and have it make sense all the way like that. I tell you three times.

Here is another, a doubled haiku, two of everything. Death on my shoulder. In the Chinese mythology a crane is a singular blessing. One of my favorite lines in I Ching speaks to this crane, and how she sings to her young, how she possesses a goblet and is willing to share. I have from the beginning, when I first read that line, felt the love that comes with that goblet. My grave but me not in it. A crane's caress. Contact and communication. How can I not be blessed?

The Crane's Eye

A crane high steps on
My grave - I can tell
Because my flesh feels her feet.
I look straight at her. She gives
Me the eye and nods.
Then she steps away.

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