Sunday, November 30, 2014

The Story Of The Coming Rain

Bond of Union by M. C. Escher, 1956
Chosen by Tess Kincaid for this week's Magpie Tales

Thanks, Tess

The Story Of The Coming Rain

A true bent harvest,
the dry skin of the rattle,
a secular breeze
in the time of need -
splendor scattered good seed
on the plain faced hope
of mean times.

Gaze on
this: we are peeled in the breeze
the depth of canvas,
gathering all spheres
we are able on these days
that tell the story
of the coming rain
and the going of the dust
that was inside us.

I feel like that guy
in some print by Escher, some
paring of true love
or other symbol strung out
like far too much dope.

‎November ‎30, ‎2014 9:36 AM

This poem was also written incorporating all twelve words in Brenda Warren's The Sunday Whirl, Wordle 189

Thanks, Brenda

At The Mag click on any name to proceed to the creative writing.
At The Sunday Whirl you have to click on the green to proceed to the list page. Then you click on any name to proceed to the creative writing.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

The Flight Schedule

photo of a Russian Gull by Alexei Mikhailov
Click on it for a larger view. Worth it.

The Flight Schedule

After all she tells
me how she mistrusts all words
and meter and lines
and rhythm and rhyme
and the smell of me as well
and how I sound when
declaiming to thousands
and would prefer me to turn
on this gravel road,
turn into a gull
dropping one feather white like,
one slip of young down
as I race on back
to the rocky slick coastline
of my long ago.

‎November ‎29, ‎2014 8:01 AM

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The Wolf Hound - A Red Wolf Poem

The Wolf Hound
(for Stella, a very sweet girl)

The bad wolf retired,
became a hound, changed his sex,
became a bitch, learned to
wag, smile and learned cute
moves designed to please humans.

She grew curly black
hair frosted with white
but kept her strong barrel chest
and nimble long legs,
and taste for the chase,
mainly those squirrels she meets
in the parks.

She's found
a good home with stairs
and doors and three floors in all.

The other day she met
Red in the park but
Red failed to remember her,

Wolf gave a wide grin.

‎November ‎26, ‎2014 6:26 PM

Written For Red Wolf Poems on this week's theme of doing something with fairy tales. Click on the link to get instructions, read the comments and find links to other takes on the assignment. You will have to scroll up to get the instructions.

Red Wolf

The Argument - Three Word Wednesday

The Argument

I look on the crush
of distrsust I have just caused,
a muck slide of slop.
Confusion has swamped
any hopeful signature
and its blue ink smears
all across the page.
There is no more guarantee
I will ever find
your tolerant eyes
in any future I can
see from this cold swamp.
But life informs me,
again and again renewed.
Tomorrow's a new
day. You can't see past
the curve of our horizon
and it's rosy spell.

November 26, 2014 9:20 AM

Three Word Wednesday
This is week 403 on the 3WW site. This is my 1,884th posting on my blog. I began it on November 8, 2008 supported by my two friends, Walt of Eugene, downstate, and Robin Starfish of Idaho. I am grateful to them both still. Robin told me in his comment on my blog post that day that I would be looking back one day from my 500th post. I have gone somewhat further than that. It is somewhere around 312 weeks for me. Or in prison time, I am in my 73rd month of a life sentence LOL.

Each Wednesday Thom supplies his 3WW minions with three words to toy with. This week the words are:
Distrust; Hopeful; Tolerant.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Am I Worthy?

This picture of the park on the bluff was taken looking north in winter, 2011. It was taken just before the final closure of the Blue Heron papermill seen below the bluff and on the Willamette River side of the railways. The leftmost pairs of tracks were laid to service the mill, delivering raw wood chips and possibly chemicals and such at one time. In the last decades of operation however, most if not all incoming and outgoing traffic was by truck. The main gate opens directly onto the main street of the downtown part of Oregon City but the first crossroads is a main highway leading toward the interstate arterial and Portland in one direction and heading south downstate toward Salem in the other.

The bluff is a favorite walk because of its vantage points on the riverside of town and industry below and across the river. It gives several very good views of Willamette Falls. At the south end of the bluff there is also a walking bridge across the main highway, a walk leading to a primary highway viewpoint set up for gazing on the panorama of the Willamette Falls, the industry and the downtown of Oregon City beyond. Downstream (north) are the two bridges, the original Oregon City Bridge and further downstream the much newer Interstate bridge.

I lived for twenty years in a tiny house in what was once a town for the mill workers on the far side and now a part of the city of West Linn. That area is also known as Willamette, and there once was a commuter trolley running down the main road to the falls.

I worked as a designer on both sides of the Willamette in this location.

I worked on contract in the Smurfit Papermill's engineering department on this side for most of a year a couple different times, working on various projects. This mill ended its days as the Blue Heron Papermill. I also worked on contract for Portland General Electric on the far side, first at their engineering department in downtown Portland preparing and planning and then as onsite construction supervisor in their Sullivan Plant. The Sullivan Plant was once known as Station B as noted on the Wiki page linked below. There they use the energy of the Willamette River to drive thirteen 1KV turbines and generate raw power. Then they transform that power on the hill above and feed it into the area's power grid.

I helped PGE create the first "downstream migrant bypass facility" which allowed the fish to pass over the turbines and continue downstream in 1991. That facility worked so well for PGE that through the ensuing years they have upgraded and remodeled several times in part to improve its function. The original bypass facility is not easily recognized for what it was when first installed. PGE has responsibility for the upkeep of Willamette Falls because the natural state of the falls has been improved mostly for this power generating purpose. Willamette Falls is where Portland General Electric started as the Willamette Falls Electric Company in 1888.

Now I live in a house situated just down the slope from the walkway along the bluff in a natural flat zone. The yard is a little bit multi leveled because of the basalt of the bluff which is all ancient volcanism. Right outside my basement entrance door the graveled and otherwise unpaved extension of the street dead ends at the greensward of the park.

For those who care, the Wiki article on Willamette Falls has a fairly accurate historical synopsis of the area.

Am I Worthy

It has crossed my mind
I do fall short these strange days.
I am fed for free
and I glide on wings
I've found abandoned nearby.
I don't even need
to ascend some cliff
face to find a preflight site.
The bluff is outside,
right outside my door,
the abandoned tracks below
and rough red in last
light. I would invite
you in but I'm uncertain
you would laugh at my
jokes or take me at
my simplistic words of praise
or just pray with me.

‎November ‎25, ‎2014 2:41 PM

Oh by the way... I just realized I have written over 2000 poems since August of 2008.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Not Much Left

Tank action at Hill 85 on Okinawa near the end of World War II.

Not Much Left

It got too bloody,
too big, a goddam black tank
clanking and driving
right over my heart
and jamming me down down down,
smashing me into
all that left over
rubble from making those walls
that have boxed me in.
I'm sorry. I just don't
have much of anything left.
I think it's past time.

October 15, 2010 9:54 AM

Never before published but over four years old... I have no idea what this was about now. That's a good lesson on how it all passes. I was still working in those days. Perhaps something happened at work.

These days there are people in my life who are making trips to hospitals for serious things. A friend has just informed me her horse will be put down tomorrow at age 30. An insurmountable medical problem. My heart clenches up. WTF. Wait. This is all normal. I will see sunshine and rainbows tomorrow. Today is for how hard it can be.

Only. I have other friends who have retired to a part of the world they hoped to get to. They just posted how happy they are. So the truth is we must sit together on the smae bench, some rejoicing, some grieving and most just trying to get along right now. While someone cries openly, someone else cracks a joke and a few go off to take in a movie. Most have to go back to work but some don't.

The trees have lost the summer.

Me too. It's on the verge of winter for me.

The cat and the dog are both napping with full bellies. I will soon be called to dinner, I believe.

This is Monday. On Thursday there will be a Thanksgiving celebration. I will give thanks. This is all normal.

An M-4 Sherman tank with a "rhino plow" attached in front has just punched its way through a Norman hedgerow. This image from the war in Europe, World War II in France.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Searching For The Twins

Snowstorm by Maurice de Vlaminck

One of the principle painters in the Fauvist movement, de Vlaminck disliked Picasso for the way Cubism supplanted Fauvism. This painting is hard to date but appears to be most similar to work de Vlaminck produced around 1920.

I did a little internet research to write this as I have not heard of this Flemish painter (though he painted mostly along the Seine south of Paris) before today. He wrote fiction, some of it when a young man "mildly pornographic", was a violinist and teacher of music, and later wrote poetry as well.

Chosen by Tess as a writing prompt for Mag 247

Searching For The Twins

There are moments on
this road like pirouettes in
some neglected field
where resolute stoats
(forgotten in this toothed time
of children not found)
do scream of cloudy
spills of white. The wind flutter
of my decision,
black storm upon storm
this miserable, stains me
with sap from dread bark.

‎November ‎23, ‎2014 9:07 AM

This poem was fashioned to include all twelve of the words offered in Brenda Warren's Sunday Whirl, Wordle 188

Friday, November 21, 2014

On My Walk

The cows have taken
an attitude concerning
the state of my heart.
I was once content
to walk among them at peace
but lately I've lost
my way and the cows
know it. They turn their great heads
and nip at my dreams
as if they were fine
sprays of green for the taking
that I no longer

October 15, 2010 12:25 PM

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Woman Trouble

Woman Trouble

She was one fine cat
and she found me out from rain
on that windy day -
fixed her eyes on me
and nailed me to the back wall
that way.

The porch light
took her eyes from cool
to some kind of ancient sky
and I could taste game
on her feral breath.

I would have invited her
but she turned away.

‎November ‎20, ‎2014 5:37 PM

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Every Song Must End - A Red Wolf Wordle

A vision of Bodhisattva

Right here you will find a link back to the post entitled Buddhist Bodhisattva Behavior which I accessed for the images. The post consists of a prose poem Namo Lokesvaraya written by a monk named Tog-me.

The site presents a clear translation which probably means it is to some extent not literal. The long poem describes how Bodhisattvas can be recognized by their behavior. These behaviors form a global ideal that reveals a fully evolved and civilized human. It is possible that no one who reads this post of mine will ever see a Bodhisattva. However, it is also ancient tradition that genuine saints wherever they arise out of any tradition may be very hard to recognize unless you too are well along some sacred path. Thus you may pass one by, may have already passed by several without ever knowing it.

As a practical matter, the knowledge is now thousands of years old that public demonstrations and overt manifestations of the sacred skills generally do not help and in most cases hinder the work.

The poem utilizes all of the words found on the Red Wolf Poems blogsite We Wordle 31

Every Song Must End

Bodhisattva life
is not the legerdemain
you guys said it was -
nor pulsing spirit
reflected in past moments
or in present rites
despite the raw dusk
and void that once formed the song
of our grit dying

Hope's tumbled down
those rough scales, the parasites
that chew my liver.

‎November ‎19, ‎2014 9:45 PM

Poet's note: Wiki says: "Most scale insects are parasites of plants, feeding on sap drawn directly from the plant's vascular system." Ref. "those rough scales". Apparently the scales described here are somewhat unusual, or the poet is.

Another vision of Bodhisattva

Red Wolf

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Bubble

The Tulip Folly by Jean-Léon Gérôme, painted in 1882

In this scene, a nobleman guards an exceptional bloom as soldiers trample flowerbeds in a vain attempt to stabilize the tulip market by limiting the supply.

Wiki says:
Tulip mania or tulipomania (Dutch names include: tulpenmanie, tulpomanie, tulpenwoede, tulpengekte and bollengekte) was a period in the Dutch Golden Age during which contract prices for bulbs of the recently introduced tulip reached extraordinarily high levels and then suddenly collapsed.

At the peak of tulip mania, in March 1637, some single tulip bulbs sold for more than 10 times the annual income of a skilled craftsman. It is generally considered the first recorded speculative bubble (or economic bubble), although some researchers have noted that the Kipper- und Wipperzeit episode in 1619–22, a Europe-wide chain of debasement of the metal content of coins to fund warfare, featured mania-like similarities to a bubble. The term "tulip mania" is now often used metaphorically to refer to any large economic bubble (when asset prices deviate from intrinsic values).

The Bubble

I invested in
tulips when I came around
last time and lived in
Holland on the north
bank of the town’s main canal.
That was just before
the market smashed bang
on the stones of the basement.

I lost all my seeds…

May 4, 2014 10:53 PM

Written in response to Irene's blog post on May 5, 2014: Tulip Fever

Sunday, November 16, 2014


Jimmy Carter, The Nobel Peace Prize Lecture

This is how I think too. I have thought this way since the sixties. In high school I thought differently and went to West Point after, but I changed. I am stained by the wars my country has fought through my life and through my family before my life too. A war may not be necessary no matter how many politicians try to say it is. And war is always an evil no matter how many politicians and generals say it is not.

However I am skeptical rather than a pacifist. I would fight an invader, for example. Sometimes one must marry what is evil on this planet, accept the stain of it and move on.

But just because I have to engage does not absolve me from evil. Knowing that clarifies things.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

The Postcard

Written by H.P. Lovecraft in 1927

The Postcard

Did it arrive, then?
I sent you my youth, my song
of the summer's way
with the white gold hair
sunshine gave me in those days.
God's bead of grace acts
exactly like sweat
running down my sacred form.
That's why my soft edge
tastes so much like rain.

October 15, 2010 9:31 PM

The poem is of a postcard and so is the image. Of course the subject discussed by Lovecraft et al. is not the poem. I just like having H.P.'s penmanship on my blog.

Oddly, my grandfather on my Mother's side was nicknamed H.P. also. He was a Dutchman named Hartog Philippus, a family name. I have seen a list of ancestors and those two names appear often in this order and in the reverse.

There was an H.P. who was sent to Auschwitz in World War II as well, not my grandfather. That is about the Jewish side of the family of course. The family has Jews and Christians both, with the Jews being the older part of the lineage. An ancestor came to Holland back in the days of the Inquisition, coming from Portugal. My Grandfather did not like the Catholic Church for a very good reason. The Inquisition killed some of us. He hated Nazis even more for the same reason.

I think this poem may be the best poem I have ever written so far.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The Shortstop

By Joy R. Absalon-US Presswire

Baltimore Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy, bottom, is out at second base as Seattle Mariners shortstop Brenda Ryan is able to complete the double-play in the seventh inning during a game at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

The Shortstop

Show me your signal.
lend me eagle eyes and ears
that I might pull out
fast balls from the curves
and leave popped up fouls behind.
I know you think me
an infield leader
of all local pretensions
and yet I insist
on hanging around.
Shake it off, you say. Sliding
downhill, I say back
to you I have lost
all chance of using my cleats.
I am beyond hope.
Oh I am so sure
I love you yet I can't steal
not even to save
our last out.

November 11, 2014 7:35 PM

Monday, November 10, 2014

Tread Lightly On His Salt - A Red Wolf Poem

Tread Lightly On His Salt

Give him some damn slack!
Don't incinerate the time
and leave the space free
of silver shiners.

He don't tolerate shallow
fools lightly so if
you must insist still
on elaborate lamp stands
for the state candle
he will revoke you
and then perforate his wine
glass so it leaks red
on your next letter
of demands.

Don't drop your stuff
in that cold fireplace
or exasperate
him any further if you
know what's good for you.

‎November ‎10, ‎2014 10:07 AM

This poem was composed utilizing the 13 words on offer at the We Wordle 30 post of Red Wolf Poems.

Red Wolf

Sunday, November 9, 2014

To Right All Wrongs

Image chosen by Tess Kincaid for a writing prompt on this Sunday's Mag 245

I Wanted To Right All Wrongs

The crowd I ran with
would wrap themselves in the flag
and light it on fire, fervor of the dope,
the night - then would suicide
perhaps at crossroads and barriers set
by shine shirted officers
of the mud splashed law.

That crocus had thorns.

They plucked the long stemmed
rose to goad the flight of migratory
birds who flew from disrespect,
calling, calling out
surely chased by her,
by the owl who suddenly
dove below the tree
line to thread the scene
with serious concern for
all those dead and gone -

and me, I still grieve.

‎November 9, ‎2014 4:29 PM

To be fair - I insist that these amusements are usually fictions. I have in this one framed and draped my memory of times that have passed. Those days are a very long way from my concerns of today. I was definitely there. I am definitely now here. Yes. I do still grieve. It's complicated.

The poem was fashioned to include all twelve words found in Brenda Warren's Sunday Whirl Wordle 186.

Saturday, November 8, 2014


I read a poem on one of the sites I haunt searching for ideas. The poem was a self appraisal, though as ever with poets there is no way to figure what self is being appraised. Poets don characters as easily as actors and novelists and short story writers do. I said to myself,
"I can write this one."

So I did. There is humor here if you sit in the poet's seat instead of trying to glean some truth of poor Christopher.

Poor Christopher. He is aging and his friends are dying off and he is stuck in a basement and even the dog mostly ignores him. Poor man, he thinks he's a poet and all he writes is this drivel. Oh my, he thinks he knows God but God laughs and skips along unknowable as ever.

Holy Christ, all his life a quest and him failing as is obvious. Just look where he is at present. It really is obvious. His chief claim, an unbroken string of daily nose picking. Batting 1.000 there. See what I mean? This is absurd. Also it is not true. Well, mainly it is not true. The dog does like me and would not ignore me if we were alone together. It's complicated.

What is true. I do know how to write the poem. I know I am not the only one.


Losing interest.
That's what you tell me is wrong.
I feel it leak out.
It's just like trying
to hold mud with my claw hands
and watching the streaks
of it drizzle down
across my squandered knee joints,
then further down me
as if I'm not there.

So I guess you are again
right as fine silver
rain misting downward
in a light spring breeze early
of a promising

If only I
could feel like a man might feel
instead of a log.

‎November ‎8, ‎2014 10:45 AM

I feel better now.

Friday, November 7, 2014

The Startle

The Startle

Shaken, I hastily
search my memory for signs
of your shadowy
presence. Finding none,
I assume your cleverness
is trumping my training.
The tea stain is compelling.
Who can she be, I muse.
No matter. I will hunt
you down by and by.

‎October ‎15, ‎2010 10:49 PM

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

I May Not Be Much - Three Word Wednesday

Each week on Three Word Wednesday, Thom offers up three words to guide the creative process of those who care to participate in the exercise. The participants write whatever they choose incorporating the three words (or not perhaps, or one or two) and then use Mr. Linky to link back to their creative sites, adding their identification to the list found on the Three Word Wednesday site. Click Here

Thom has been doing this so long that the count has reached 400 weeks. That's well over 7 and a half years. As he wrote, it is also 1200 words at three per week.

This week the words are:
Devastate; Gossamer; Plummet.

I May Not Be Much
But I Am All I Think About

The sun will rise up.
It will devastate the dark
crannies of the night
with implacable light.
This always happens.

spin their gossamer
dew lapped webs between
the tiny green fresh faced twigs.

I see that with my
eagle eyes as I
plummet to the mossy place,
(unerring this time
not like other times)
that place You made for us all.

I like to think You
made it just for me.
I shiver a bit knowing
that is not the truth.

November 5, 2014 3:04 PM

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

The Unsilent Life

The Unsilent Life

I avoid silence
most times by talking myself
aloud though quiet -
as if I had good
advice to add to the things
that cluster and spin
around my fat head.

The speech bubbles float among
the beams. Yes, female
gnats do inquire of
my health in this one moment
as if that mattered.

I wait for late hours
when all are asleep but me
and I no longer
have to look behind
my back for lurking shadows
of all my lovers.

‎November ‎4, ‎2014 4:32 PM

Sunday, November 2, 2014

The Flower Gun - A Magpie Tale

Tess Kincaid offers this as a writing prompt, image credit: Dick Blick Art

Go here for the Magpie Tales site

I have no idea who this Dick Blick is. I can't Google because I am overwhelmingly offered the websites of a major Art Supply Company which carries the Dick Blick name. One of it's big storefronts is local to me in the Portland Area. It is a global internet art supply outlet as well. Perhaps one of these pages is what Tess means.

The Flower Gun

The first time I saw
the flower gun I was curled
in a hole I dug
(we all dug damn holes)
in the hillside soil beneath
the dead stumps of trees.

That guy stood as if
inviolate and so sure
he would remain so.

He pulled and colors
spewed in streamers up the hill
and coated all of it
in a hot second.

Then all those guys jumped right up
shaking it all off
just as best they could
but they fell technicolor
anyway, cartoons
of their former selves.

Me, I stared aghast hoping
they didn't have that
gun too.

‎November 2, ‎2014 7:22 PM

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Student Housing

I Slept In The Dining Room
-----Student Housing-----

It's true. My turn came
and has mostly gone, slipping
out the old iron
gate of the garden
I intended on purpose
to let overgrow.
Someone dug a grave
in the front and stuck sculpture
at the damp bottom
hoping the party
he threw would be quality
for a grade in art.

The grass was higher
than green, reaching past the edge,
the hem of your skirt,
and still dewy fresh,
a college semester spring,
while around the back
and down three stone steps
there was a basement full of dope
belonged to my friend
funding his advanced
(legal) degrees.

‎November 1, ‎2014 4:34 PM

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