Monday, October 12, 2015

A Bad Day - A Magpie Tale

George's Self Portrait

I remember the day still. Long time ago now... Things started to go bad, one after the other, I started counting after four and kept track. It stopped being awful and started being amazing around ten. I got to thirteen before day's end. I was married. My wife, Ann, had five or six more screw ups quite apart from mine. By evening we were chuckling at how bad a day could be. I never had a day like it before. I have never had a day like it since. We were grateful to find the humor.

I have only one idea why a bad day and George's buzz cut should match up. I was given home haircut buzz cuts as a second and third grade kid. I understood we were poor but I hated those haircuts. I am currently almost seventy. I quit getting haircuts some time back now. My hair has grown below my shoulders.

A Bad Day

The shell doesn't work.
I hear only my own ears.
Though my eyes flash blue,
I can see little
without corrective lenses.
My left leg is lame.
The toes of my right
foot are fungus infested.
The cat strayed away
three days past. The dog
has runny crap after all
the garbage he ate.

I asked for a trim.
The barber screwed the damn pooch.
Now it's a buzz cut.

What is going on?

October 12, 2015 5:46 PM

Christopher's Self Portrait

Post composed for Tess' The Mag, No. 289
Sorry to be a day behind, you guys.
Oh yes, "George" refers to George Tooker.

I have known the phrase "screw the pooch" for many years now. I did a cursory search of the internet and found that this phrase may have its origins in the Mercury Space Program. The phrase of course means what it feels like it means - to make a large error. No one apparently knows for certain where the phrase comes from. It fits the masculine high tech but blue collar workplace without question. I am sure I have used the phrase at some time in my life but I have no idea where or when.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Red Handed

Caught Red Handed

The three words of last Wednesday's Three Word Wednesday were

Red Handed

It is just like you
to dump the ash trays on me
as if I'm the guy
caught smoking again.
I guess if you found money
in my back pocket
you would accuse me
of another damn bank heist
or something like that.
I'm certain empty
motives count for nothing now,
not with you, my pet.
It's time to absorb
every innocent ploy
in the book and roll
you in the wood pile
of nascent possibles
and alternatives.

‎October ‎11, ‎2015 3:08 PM

(especially of a process or organization) just coming into existence and beginning to display signs of future potential.
"the nascent space industry"
synonyms: just beginning, budding, developing, growing, embryonic, incipient, young, fledgling, evolving, emergent, dawning, burgeoning
"the nascent economic recovery"

From Latin nascēns, present participle of nascor ‎(“I am born”).

Saturday, October 10, 2015

This Is It

The Road Of Happy Destiny
or, This Is It

The violet strap
falls across my rump as if
to stripe me, mark me
with your discipline,
make me read this book again,
focus on little
two letter words, "of",
not "to" as I trudge the road.

*Happy Destiny*

It's the road "of" I
trudge, (I read) not the road "to" -
what a difference.

February 27, 2011 9:24 PM

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

The Complaint - Reprise

As noted in the image, this is one of the earliest recorded business complaints we have on record. You have to have a specialist's education to read it these days. For that matter most people who needed to utilize written records hired scribes in those days. Both reading and writing were a specialist's provenance. If you were a scribe, it was probably worth your life to get it right.

In January, 2014, I crafted and published the poem I reprise here, writing to the idea of a coming storm and using all the words in a device known as a Wordle. I reprise it because I very much like how smooth and unforced the poem is, even though it was constrained by twelve words not my own. If you must know, the whiner is a talking dog. I love it that the Aussies and Brits write and say, I suppose, whinger. I don't know about the Canadians.

The Complaint

"It's all so remote,"
you whined, paying the one price
you promised never
to pay.

Your impact
illuminates several
scenes that all haunt me.
I lie by the pool
in last year's litter and need,
all lifeless now,
as you nose the ground
snuffling peevishly at me
and the coming storm.

‎January ‎12, ‎2014 9:38 AM

The words I found in the Wordle in the order I used them are:

Monday, October 5, 2015

Left Eye Update

This is an example of what my eye surgery looked like just before they opened up my eye.

I had that eye surgery on October 30, 2013. It was successful in that I did not lose more vision. The watering and the struggle to see I was suffering receded for the most part. I am barely sighted in that eye.

I am a heart patient. I am ambulatory and basically well, but I am on water pills, hypertension meds and an anticoagulant called Warfarin (Coumadin) because of my heart condition. This is low level heart stuff, though all heart conditions are serious.

There are risks to Warfarin. Doctors wish you to be on the lowest possible doses of this medication. They weigh the risks of injury against the considerations of benefit. My heart is in a permanent condition of malfunction called atrial fibrillation. I am at hugely heightened risk of stroke because the fibrillation puts turbulence in the blood. It tends to generate blood clots (emboli). The embolus can clog veins. Emboli can travel to any location in the circulation, which is a closed loop system, there to stop the flow or perhaps even burst the capillary, all caused by atrial fibrillation.

Cue the left eye. As I was leaving a meeting place at about 6:40 on that evening in March of 2013, my left eye suddenly and without any sensation developed a very large blackness in its visual field. It turned out I had suffered a subretinal hemhorrage due to a burst capillary. This lifted the retina off the back of my eye in a blood blister. The surgery was to anchor the retina back down, clear out scar tissue and the like.

When the wound in the back of my eye occurred, I went immediately to an optometrist for a diagnosis and plan of what to do next. When he heard I was on Warfarin, he just hung his head for a moment. There was no question. This situation was caused by too high an anticoagulant concentration in my blood which allowed the hemhorrage to persist long enough to do such damage. The doctor hung his head because there was clean up to do but it almost certainly would not improve my vision.

Here is the pre-op post and poem I wrote before that surgery. Click here.

And here reprised is the poem I wrote and posted then.

The One Eyed Man

Let the rains arrive.
May they wash behind my ears
and sluice all my cracks
clean of sludge and grit,
splash my patchy skin with trust
so it sparkles fine
grained, love strewn and streaked,
heavy packed inside my veins
where it thrums and drums,
and still the front hums
displeasure at the sloppy
sight of my one eye.

‎October ‎25, ‎2013 2:24 PM

In the country of the blind, the one eyed man is king... However in the two eyed world the one eyed man is decidedly not on top.

The surgeon went into my eye from the front of course. He had to replace the lens even though there was nothing wrong with it because that was the only way to get enough access to trim and anchor down the torn retina. I had it described to me that the retina has the consistency and thickness of a single strip of soggy toilet tissue. It tears easily and is not amenable to manipulation without some damage. There was awkwardly placed scar tissue and scattered pieces of tissue and blood floating in the retinal fluid, the jelly that is transparent and serves to hold the retina in place. This jelly also keeps the shape of the eye stable under a certain pressure. That had to be removed and replaced by a specially crafted saline solution. The retina had to be anchored back down using laser light to seal it in place. The explosions of white light inside at the back of my left eye were startling. I was awake for all this, though sedated.

There was basically no hope for restoring sight in any real way, only stabilizing the wound and scarring so what little vision was left would not get worse. Under that limited hope, the surgery was a success. The optometrist did no harm. Above all, Doctor, do no harm.

Today, two years later, I still cannot see out of my left eye in any useful way. I ponder, "What if that was the only sight I had left to me?" I would not get around very well. I certainly would not be able to read. I would have to have assistance for many activities. I would have to hold my head in certain ways because what sight is left me is peripheral vision at the bottom of my former visual field. This means in actual terms, the top of my retina. The rest is basically gone and the clarity of what is left is not very good. For example, I can see the background of this screen but no print at all with my left eye.

My right eye, always the strongest of my pair, is as yet untouched. I still rarely suffer eyestrain headaches despite all the computer work, reading and TV watching I do. What is amazing in all this, there was almost no pain to any of it. Even the healing aftermath was only modestly irritating. So despite my loss, I consider myself a lucky man.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Heartache - A Magpie Tale

Dream by Jacek Yerka, 2011.
Offered by Tess of Sunday's The Mag for a writing prompt. This is No. 288. Posted once a week, there are fifty-two weeks in a year, and occasionally she misses a week but not often. No. 260 or so thus marks more than five years. Good work, Tess! Love you.


I am keeping watch
as if you need me for that,
you in the middle
of your story line
woven of the crescent moon.

Wrapped in waterproof
summer sheets, the story
a bottomless flow of warm
black water - I am
keeping watch for sign
of you in my heart as if
I need you for my life
to work anymore.

Nearby, in the black light hole
life has made centered
in my time-apple
tree started decades before
my hope for us grew,
I have stashed the words
I promised you last Tuesday
and my night cap keeps
my brains from falling
out, falling flat out of me.

Something's wrong with the night stand.
The cat keeps twitching away
and the stairs keep descending.
I would like to wake up now.

October 4, 2015 5:41 PM

Saturday, October 3, 2015

The Man On The Bed

The main text of Alcoholics Anonymous concludes in this way:

"Abandon yourself to God as you understand God. Admit your faults to Him and to your fellows. Clear away the wreckage of your past. Give freely of what you find and join us. We shall be with you in the Fellowship of the Spirit, and you will surely meet some of us as you trudge the Road of Happy Destiny.

May God bless you and keep you - until then."

The American experience of English as it is spoken shows some common things. One of the errors that can easily persist is the substituting of one two letter word for another. "Of" and "to" seem interchangeable in phrases like "the Road of Happy Destiny" but the actual meaning of the phrase shifts in a remarkable way. Hence this poem:

The Road Of Happy Destiny
or, This Is It

The violet strap
falls across my rump as if
to stripe me, mark me
with your discipline,
make me read this book again,
focus on little
two letter words, "of",
not "to" as I trudge the road.

*Happy Destiny*

It's the road "of" I
trudge, (I read) not the road "to" -
what a difference.

February 27, 2011 9:24 PM

I was taught this by my old friend David. David was taught this by his wife, who was a second grade school teacher when she realized the importance of two letter words. It seems I would do well to remember what I learned in second grade more often.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Bitter Fruit

Bitter Fruit

Written four and a half years ago:

Bitter Fruit

The beauty of the game
is when you can't tell me off
without making him
nervous alongside
and she pipes up, is it me?
and all the rest nod
in time, in tune, nod
and open up rich red wounds
no longer hidden.

I didn't mean to.
I'm an innocent fellow,
so sorry, so sad.

‎February ‎27, ‎2011 6:10 AM



So I watched this guy
draw his silver plated gun
and begin popping
the dreams of young men
and young ladies at random.

I dropped to the ground,
thought to kiss the earth
good bye and tried to stay still
as death - if only
he would overlook
my pulsing veins, my pink skin.

Then he calmly left -
went back out the door
and the bangs began again
in another room.
I admit my plight.
I was grateful to be spared
before the wounded meant
anything to me,
nor did I care for the dead,
oh my God, at all.

‎October ‎1, ‎2015 11:25 PM

In honor of the dead and wounded at Umpqua Community College, near Roseburg, Oregon whose lives were changed forever on this date. Nine died. Seven were wounded. Also killed, the shooter, Chris Harper-Mercer. I just now learned his name and I have noticed. I too am named Christopher. It is cold tonight.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

The End Could Be Very Close

Twin Buddhas climbing
to the roof of all the worlds
just below heaven
there to view the loom
of human fate as if truth
could be found in it.

Me, hidden behind
a drape of purple shaded
dust in a nearby
window- I spy out
heaven's secrets, having pledged
never to utter
one true thing about
them to any friend or foe
on pain of starting
the apocalypse.

‎September ‎29, ‎2015 - 6:00 PM

Monday, September 28, 2015

Searching For Sources

Searching For Sources

When I look into
Your waters, Oh God, I see
no sign of my face.

When I look into
the waters of my own soul
some odd signs appear.

I search Your sources and spells.
I find smoke in Your hot white eyes.

October 22, 2009 12:45 AM
rewritten, February 7, 2011 8:12 PM

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Seeing Too Much - A Magpie Tale

photo credit: Gerrit Photography
Image offered by Tess for Sunday's Magpie Tale

Seeing Too Much

If only graves were
really graves and stones
would stop dead sighted eyes from
their gritty gray sweep

The ghost in the street
remembers having a house
to hold and people
who touched his proud soul.

Through the cold pane‎ his daughter
writes her lover as if
he cannot see her
exposed like xrays expose
the bones within flesh -
a skill of phantoms
everywhere whether they
want the skill or not -
and he does not want
to see her like this today.

September ‎27, ‎2015 4:20 PM

Written for Tess Kincaid's Magpie Tales

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Before Writing The Next Poem

Anything to get
the juices flowing, the flame
flaring, the howl out.

Loping alone, night
prowling, throaty growls spreading
at red sounding speed -
I've come to tell you
something important, something
rich and right sized, but
you have to speak wolf.
You have to listen like trees
and see like stars see.

February 6, 2011 12:22 PM

Friday, September 25, 2015

To The Manor Born

I've been a bit royal,
as if I had a leg to stand on
making pronouncements,
as if there should be
a crier announcing for me
my presence in the room,
in the poem,
in your life.
Damn! How do I dare
to act like I do?

‎February 5, ‎2011 5:00 PM

Thursday, September 24, 2015

On The Bias

                      News Source Bias left to right

The "bias-cut" is a technique used by designers for cutting clothing to utilize the greater stretch in the bias or diagonal direction of the fabric, thereby causing it to accentuate body lines and curves and drape softly.

If I had angles
all figured out, I would know
how to be with you
without the howling
whine of a bound up hot blade,
nor need more guidance.

‎February ‎5, ‎2011 4:33 PM

I have taken to napping a bunch as an antidote.

Psalm 347

I shall sing of you
in the eve and setting sun,
in the morning light,
in the midday heat
and Oh! the squirrels scold me
for my intrusion,
my audacity
that I lift my voice to you
who they hold so dear.

‎February ‎5, ‎2011 7:00 AM

Monday, September 21, 2015

Turning Point

I like to wake before you,
go downstairs to birds
as they rustle up
their grub, and me too. I start
the coffee for you
and my tea water
and think about our latest
discussion, last night,
how all is changing.

‎February ‎5, ‎2011 5:48 AM

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Incantation - A Magpie Tale


I came all this way
across the tidal delta
through the bore head first
snorting salt and sand
and generally acting
the fogbound dripping
fool for love of you.

Now your misty glass allows
me to cast a spell.

Perhaps this hex will
force you to me since nothing
else works worth a damn.

‎September ‎20, ‎2015 1:20 PM

Written for Tess Kincaid's Magpie Tales

Friday, September 18, 2015

Placing The Blame

I am not that sure
the sun will rise for the last
of us in this town,
on this bamboo path
that I thought I should lay down
through the left hand marsh
so we could avoid
the right hand rocks and sharp scree
found there.

I think now
the sun will refuse
it's former role in the works.

It's for my own good,
no doubt.

I hate that
kind of talk, you know, that way
of placing the burden
back on me when I
never even thought of it
until the load appeared.

‎September ‎18, ‎2015 4:50 PM

Thursday, September 17, 2015

What Is It?

What Is It?

What is "it", she asked
as if I might know better
than the average
bear, the bear who lives
in the woods, and there leaves signs
of his large presence.
But I don't. I don't
know now what "it" is. I might
have once, but mostly
these days it's about
the best trees in the forest
for scratching my back.

‎February 5, ‎2011 5:19 AM

Posturing - Three Word Wednesday

Coffee Art

A late entry into Three Word Wednesday. The three words are: Haphazard; Labored; Noxious.


Noxious fumaroles
are burping out smokey rings
and smell of bad eggs
in back of my eyes.

You claim me a labored bard
but what shall I do
with this graying cess*
and its curly enforcement?
Those curs should depart
for sharper corners
and let haphazard songsters
hoist their own petard.

I am sure of it.

I do, I do make some kind
of sense but maybe
not right now, brother.
I confess to posturing
at this damn juncture.

‎September ‎16, ‎2015 8:57 PM

*The dictionary defines cess like this: (in Scotland, Ireland, and India) a tax or levy. I like the connotation of (bad) cess implied by "graying cess" as it goes to black. One might think at this juncture (sic) of the word assess.

When I checked bad cess then cess came up like this: chiefly Irish: cess means luck — usually used in the phrase bad cess to you, or another like it.

I suppose the link is that taxes are particularly bad luck when they land on your back.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

The Doll House - A Magpie Tale

Image offered by Tess for this week's Magpie Tale.

For the other late summer offerings, reach out for Mag 285.

The Doll House

I would never play
with houses, leaving all such
to you, suffering
your attentions to
the details, all the many
odds and ends of life
in miniature
in the long and hazy days,
our days as they were.

I have kept this house
for over sixty years now
and will not explain
its sad disarray
because it still feels like you
and your favorite
late afternoon yarns.

I just have so little else
to show for it all.

‎September ‎13, ‎2015 ‎6:00 AM

Saturday, September 12, 2015

It Is My Call

It Is My Call

I shall then rotate
and float in the darkening
night sky, a remote
caretaker's handle.

Like a sharpening function
and alert for heat,
I'll grind the blade down
to razor's edge, that special
twenty degree hone,
that angle, that keen
repose -

I am resistant
to all blandishments
from the head of state,
from his aging cabinet,
and, my love, from you.

‎February ‎3, ‎2011 4:49 AM

I am feeling my age...and no sleep last night at all...not cool. Whinge.

We say "whine" and the Brits say, "whinge". To put a fine point on it, they do not really mean the same thing. Whine means more precisely a humming high pitched sound while whinge in the the British English is a false grief. American English has dropped the "whinge" and now lets whine carry the whole load. Both words were in the English before 1300 AD. Technically "whine" is pronounced like wine with a breathier "w". Whinge is pronounced just like hinge but with the added "w".

Thursday, September 10, 2015

The Lawyer - Three Word Wednesday

Abraham Lincoln is reported to have said, "a lawyer who represents himself in court has a fool for a client." It is not clear Abe actually said this. However, it is sound advice. Even a lawyer should have a lawyer in court.

On Three Word Wednesday, Thom gave us these words:
Glimmer; Fatal; Impartial.

I normally would have written a smaller poem but I got entranced by the story so here it is. Sorry I'm late. It's complicated.

The Lawyer

The glimmer will reign
the other lights after noon,
high or otherwise,
and the misty day
could turn fatal if we dance
to the wrong ditty
too soon, my dear one.

I'll try for an impartial
verdict but I doubt
I will get it from
that red nosed fool of a judge
with his brown glass flask
clinking in his back
pocket underneath his robe.

So let your gun slip
as it must, my dear,
eventually dipping
below the ridgeline
of the fate behind
your eyes and my mind's eye too
as I strip my lines.

We will not be moved
off dead center, not today
my dear, not today.

‎September ‎10, ‎2015 2:28 AM

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

A Senior Moment

A Senior Moment

We are penned in, love,
fenced by aged wood, bound by vines
we have wound around
our joints carefully
drawing all caution to us
per our written oath
on that tan parchment
contract of our engagement.

Is this possible?

It is like sunset
spray swirling in the late sky
close to the ridge line -

our edges drafted
on our fruited heritage.

It is like moonrise
casting her silver
daggers - all our divergent
choices chased away.

‎September ‎8, ‎2015 6:56 PM

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Coming Home - A Magpie Tale

Welcome back, Tess. I have kept you safe in my thoughts as best I could.

Cue the Irish Uilleann Pipes:

Coming Home

I climbed to the top
of the sodden line of hills
in the fade of light,
in the last of day,
because I knew the flagstones
were on the ridgeline
still, as long ago.

One hill south past the wood gate
was the notch that held
our house and I hoped
your heart and our stone warmed bed-
as well, good lamb stew.

‎September ‎6, ‎2015 2:53 PM

Each week, except for vacations to England and such, Tess Kincaid offers images of great beauty for writing prompts. I am fond of replying with my poetry as best I can. I am also fond of Tess. You can find the contributor list on her site. Click on this: Magpie Tales.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

The Horizon Problem-3 Word Wednesday (late)

"History of the Universe" by Yinweichen - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons -

The inflationary Universe. According to the theory of inflation, the early Universe expanded exponentially fast for a fraction of a second after the Big Bang. Cosmologists introduced this idea in 1981 to solve several important problems in cosmology. One of these problems is the horizon problem.

The inflationary epoch lasted from 10^−36 seconds after the Big Bang to sometime between 10^−33 and 10^−32 seconds. This is the actual "Bang" in the big bang. Following the inflationary period, the Universe continues to expand, but at a less accelerated rate.

Even theoretically, there is no way to say much about the period before 10^-36 seconds. There is little meaning to be found, and actually not much meaning before 380,000 estimated years passed - that being the horizon of the knowable universe from our point of view.

The horizon problem in Cosmology has to do with how fast things happened and why the cosmos is so uniform no matter where we look. There is no known way for different locales to communicate with each other given the known limits to that communication and so no known reason why things turned out so uniform.

Thom at Three Word Wednesday offered up amusing; deeply; and elastic as the three words. Click on Three Word Wednesday to see the other contributions.

The Horizon Problem

Walking the damp stones
you placed beside the north wall
of our High Street House
I realize how
amusing my life's become
in the deeply lit
frame of my struggle
to remain elastic in
the gnarly fingers
of my latter days.

I see who I should have been
as they recorded
the metrics of souls,
mine and yours - all the others
to establish rank.

I scored fourth highest,
flying in the thin upper
strata of the crowd
making my Momma
ever so thoroughly proud
and while I am not
so much, I remain
mostly all I think about.

But I think of you
too, Sweetie...sometimes.

‎September ‎3, ‎2015 4:15 PM

Monday, August 31, 2015

Jonny Applepoem

On the left as labeled; on the right, Braeburns.

Jonagold apples were developed in 1953 in the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station of Cornell University's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Jonagolds are a cross between the Golden Delicious and the Jonathan. There are two possible heritages for the Jonathan, which was named either after Jonathan Lash or Jonathan Hasbrouck. Oddly, my mother's last marriage was to Louis Hasbrouck of the early New York Dutch Hasbroucks. I wouldn't mind if Jonathan was some kind of relation to Louis.

The exact source of Braeburn apples is unknown but they are probably a cross of the Lady Hamilton and Granny Smith apple.

Both these varieties of apples are commonly available in the fruit displays of America's west coast supermarkets.

Jonny Applepoem

I was trained to dash
from tree to tree, grabbing nuts
in my squirrel like
passage, modestly
crossing your mythos with mine,
me the wannabe
road guard all got up
in old military gear
with black grease striping
my eyes.

Eating hard
sweet apple, a Jonagold
or a good Braeburn,
I do feel it now.
I clean me all up - cold cream
to remove the grease.
Possibly God knows
what I really mean to say
but I surely don't.

‎June ‎2, ‎2014 11:14 PM

The poem was written near the end of a poetry collaboration between Irene Toh and me - a month long trade of poems back and forth.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Hard To Breathe - Three Word Wednesday

Art from Deviant Art by Yonaz, Lurking Behind The Tree. Find more of this work clicking on the link.

Today is Three Word Wednesday. Click on the link to find that site. Thom has offered these three words: Menacing; Rampant; Unravel.

One day at a time.

I have been outside in Oregon's Willamette Valley noontide, careful to keep in the shade. The temperature today is a wonder. If you sink into reverie there is no temperature - neither too cool nor too warm.

I have a calico cat we call Celeste. When I sit still outside my basement door she will come and weave all around me, allowing me touches if I want. When she settles, though, she is typically just beyond reach.

The shadows drape across the concrete ways and change as the sun moves along. My position is on the north side of the house so once the morning sun has reached some height there is shade the whole day through.

I awoke this morning and found myself climbing out of a deep chasm. I am still working that out and it is past noon now. I am seventy in a few months. I think something sits on my left shoulder most days now.

It's Gotten Hard To Breathe

You can be so fey.

Slipping away you left sign,
aromas twining through
the wooly branches
and the half eaten shadows,
the leaves of the old
grapes which no longer
bear any true fruit.

Or false
for all that matters.

A menacing time
has come and threads run rampant
through my crooked ways.

I watched you unwind
and your hair did unravel
while a dry wind blew
through my heart's channels,
rattling places full of dust,
the dust time laid down
so very long ago.

I would tell you of my love
if that made any
difference between
the broken remains of stars
and rings of shattered
moons. This should change me
but it does not.

I know well
these ends of the dead.

August 26, 2015 1:12 PM

Sunday, August 23, 2015

The Last Great Ship - A Magpie Tale

Sunday at the computer - the air is serious - so many wildfires surrounding us.

In the last few hours the air has scoured out a bit. It was "Hazardous" and is still rated so in the last 24 hours as of last update by the Dept. of Environmental Quality. It is now only rated "Unsafe for sensitive groups" in my neck of the woods. It will probably drop to "Moderate" sometime soon. However, I am not liking it much. The light is yellowed and hazed. The sun looks weird.

My thoughts are unsettled. Normally it would be a "Magpie Tale Sunday" and I have written a Magpie anyway. Tess is on vacation. I will not link to her page because she does not have one. Tess runs a great poetry prompt, choosing images she likes. Over the years I have grown quite fond of the lass.

The Last Great Ship

On that day wild fires
appeared behind the dry dunes
and sand spit on us
on the red born wind.
We knew the end was coming
for the whales and all.

Bend over - kiss ass.
Say goodbye the ways you dare.
Board the lifer's boat.

Use your first class chit
at long last and sit right down
in the wide soft seats
up front near the hatch
so you can debark at once.

Then recall the rest
who stayed to feed fish
and wolf and high flown osprey
one toe at a time.

‎August ‎23, ‎2015 1:59 PM

Friday, August 21, 2015

The Hedge

In the spring a year ago, I was engaged with Irene Toh of Singapore in a poesy dance where she would write and then I would reply and off that reply she would write again and so on. This trading of poems was not really a conversation in any direct sense but in a deeper field it is instead a communion of sorts. We have of course remained friends as only the Internet could allow from Singapore to Oregon City on the instant.

Her poem was called Hills & Bamboo. Click on the title to see the poem.

The Hedge

I wear a cincture
on my craft. Should I call this
love? I must ponder
the old growth and ways
the new bamboo says to me
a gold coin safely
can be used, stipend,
it says, and by God coming
straight down from heaven.

Trying to rebuild
my holy place takes a skill
beyond all my days.

He said, keep the ruse
of my life a verdant hedge
and the art of it
divine in my core.
There I finish the touches,
then give it all back.

May 29, 2014 9:08 AM

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Asking The God

Asking The God
For The Gift

If you will present
me with quality beyond
my ken then I will
return to your hold
the dragon's eye and socket
I stole the last time
I came by your place.

I confess my shortcoming
right here and right now.

I am a small man -
a thief lacking in conscience
unless my motives,
hidden and exposed,
lead me elsewhere into stone
circles and cold sprays
of consequentials
beyond my control.

‎August ‎20, ‎2015 3:56 PM

I worked very hard all my life, first learning how to not get caught, but later learning how to live without having to worry about that. Now I am far too old and all reason to worry has been stripped by natural changes. I still try to steal from the Gods though. I like to think I amuse Them. Om Shanti, Shanti, Shantihi.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Cthulhu Explains - Three Word Wednesday

Thom of Three Word Wednesday offered us these words: Kneel; Nasty; Purr.

I of course immediately thought of H.P. Lovecraft and the Great Old Gods:

Cthulhu Explains

Nasty times of day:
there are two. I try to jump them
best I can most days.
The main way, I dance
past the old dark gods of war,
kneel and pledge my blood.

Then if I find death
bubbling beneath my gill slits
I begin to sing out
all sweetness and light
as if my true tenor purr
could disperse the pain
of holding my soul
back from its old bitter ways.

I just kill for food.

‎August ‎19, ‎2015 10:24 AM

For those who do not follow vintage science fiction and fantasy, Cthulhu is a long time favorite of whom Wiki says this: Cthulhu is a deity created by writer H. P. Lovecraft and first introduced in the short story "The Call of Cthulhu", published in the pulp magazine Weird Tales in 1928. Considered a Great Old One within the pantheon of Lovecraftian cosmic entities, the creature has since been featured in numerous popular culture references. Lovecraft depicts Cthulhu as a gigantic entity worshiped by cultists. Cthulhu's anatomy is described as part octopus, part man, and part dragon.

As Wiki writes, one cannot read in the F & SF of the nineteen fifties and sixties for long without encountering at least a reference to Cthulhu if not a cracking good story, as they used to call them.

And as an aside, my maternal grandfather, a Dutch immigrant who participated as a mining engineer in the Alaska Gold Rush even though stone deaf, was known as H.P. Noordwal. Any guy with the initials H.P. can't be all bad... It goes further. For Lovecraft, H.P. stood for Howard Phillips. Howard is morphed from Old Norse Hávarðr, which means "high guard". My grandfather was Hartog Phillipus. Hartog is a Dutch surname and a Jewish given name where Hart relates to "deer" as it sometimes does in English.

To find the other contributors to Three Word Wednesday, click here.

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