Sunday, August 31, 2014

And The Gulls Cry - A Magpie Tale

Fishermen of Dark Harbor, by N C Wyeth (father of Andrew) N C Wyeth was both a painter and an illustrator of which he said, "Painting and illustration cannot be mixed—one cannot merge from one into the other." He was best known for his illustrations of a classic series of 25 books published by Scribners, including his best, the first one, Treasure Island.

Chosen by Tess as a writing prompt for Magpie Tales: Mag 235

And The Gulls Cry

If there was a sun
it would beat my back and stink
the fish more quickly
as I ride the tide
and shift my full boatload catch
to wicker baskets.

This is my goddam
life I am talking about.
I hear there's gold in
Alaska, other
ways to thrive other places,
but here it's all these

I would go, son,
but then there's you. I would go
and leave her damn flat
but for love of you.

‎August ‎31, ‎2014 11:18 AM

Friday, August 29, 2014

The Meeting

From a blog post back in 2012, from Nik Daum, see the post here

Roppongi House was an old building, crusty and worn on the outside in keeping with the appearance of the other modest units that hadn’t been torn down yet. Compared to our last hotel rooms, having more than a single room felt luxurious. The place had three bedrooms, two toilet closets (one modified squat/one western), a mildewy shower room, and a living area and small kitchen space. The stairway to the upper floor was narrow and dark. The sleeping areas had woven floors and traditional mats and bedding.

Nik takes lots of photos and produces art. As well he recorded his experiences overseas. I do not know Nik. The wonders of internet search allowed me to find his blog. I love the alley, and I marvel at the squat toilet that flushes. I saw many squats in Bangladesh but they all flushed by hand.

The Meeting

The narrow alley
in which we met only spanned
one block between us,
between two busy
streets of our sky scraping town.
No leaping buildings
is permitted here,
and no swimming to England
either. Still we met.
We both had to go,
go quickly as if we had
so much more to do.

I am left with mystery,
memory, strings hanging out.

September 27, 2010 7:45 PM

Here's the squat toilet with a hand wash sink above that is also the fill tank for the toilet flush. Thus the sink runs automatically to fill the tank and you can wash your hands while that is happening. There are many ways in the world.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Toeing The Line

It just gets so confusing, and I know you know this.

Toeing The Line

When I met you it
was in mirth and smiles and jokes
we told each other,
told the others too.
We found our comfort in light.
I brought you into
me and laid you down
and it got all warm and true
and the least I meant
was to have you toe
some damn stupid line for me.

I saw your hurt toes
anyway, my love.

September 26, 2010 7:44 PM

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Metaphysics - We Wordle #25


How am I to know
the deep veined and pondered truth
without her left hand
spiral down the hall?
This suits my so large sleeping
dog just fine. I am
dismissed by spacetime.
I find no solace in the moment.
The four open holes
are traps of a sort
the dog left for me as she
looked for our way out.

‎August ‎27, ‎2014 3:12 PM

Spacetime Dimensionality - We are here in the four open holes of spacetime.

Written in response to We Wordle #25

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Try At Your Own Risk - A Reprise

Nemesis, by Melanie Delon

There is always some madness in love. But there is also always some reason in madness.
-- Friedrich Nietzsche, "On Reading and Writing"

I remember well. To consort with the Goddess, has ever been my privilege. I do not fear.

With The Goddess

As you approach me
I find the edge of myself
tremble, then dissolve
as your sea takes me
into the orbit
of your lunar gravity.

There I find that I'm
overcome, must be
with you, conjunction of sun,
moon, total eclipse,
full corona, flares
on all sides of me as I
burn, nuclear fire.

July 19, 2009 2:43 PM
Modified September 26, 2010 12:02 PM

Posted originally on Sunday, September 26, 2010 and according with my mood today, worth revisiting.

Monday, August 25, 2014

The Haunt

It's A Predicament

You come to me weird,
all squirmy and squash, loose lipped
and gray. I'm weary
and bemused by you,
unsure what to do with your
in my face waggles.
It would be easy
I guess if you weren't my haunt.
You stay in my head
and wriggle your way
all through my chest making rooms
and furnishing them.

September 26, 2010 11:52 PM
Modified August 25, 2014

Hmmm. This poem is actually totally changed in order to keep the image and poem consistent. The original poem went like this:

You come to me hard,
all angles and brusque, stiff lipped
and stern, and wary.
I'm bemused by you,
unsure what to do with your
in my face posture.
It would be easy
I guess if you weren't my haunt.
You stay in my head
and wriggle your way
all through my chest making rooms
and furnishing them.

And while the original poem was self-consistent, have you ever tried to find a haunt that is hard and brusque, stiff lipped and stern, all angles and taking an in your face posture? Oh man, what an order! Now you get to decide if you want to which haunt is more terrible.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Spying On Witches

The Coven

The dance had you then,
after you buried your womb
in the blue black earth
prepared, sanctified
by your dozen partners, crones
under the full moon.
I watched, took this risk
knowing my mortality
at stake in this place.

September 25, 2010 3:02 PM

Friday, August 22, 2014

Indra's Net

An ancient vision of Indra's Net

Singing To The Moon

When you told me this,
told me of Indra and her
net of jewels, stars
without end and each
showing all the rest inside,

when you said those things
I found my lightning,
summoned my heart's larger voice.

So too, will you sing
for the ghost moon’s love.

September 25, 2010 10:43 AM

A modern vision of Indra's Net

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Solar Attitude

Image by Nicole Hollenbeck

What if we pissed Sol off? He's still young enough to cop an attitude, I think.

Solar Attitude

I know you have spots
in certain places, hot spots
that could kill us all.

I fear you will go
off here, right here at any
moment without cause,
that I will be turned
at that moment into dust
only dimly shown
in the gassy flow,
the cataclysm you are,
and then you subside
(as if I was never here)
as if you never
act like that at all.

September 24, 2010 4:37 PM

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The Long Way

The Shortcut, Dalby Forest.

Dalby Forest is a forest located on the southern slopes of the North York Moors National Park in North Yorkshire, England. It is maintained by the UK Forestry Commission.

I have written of this before and I will again. It is sort of ground zero and I loop out and return. Something happened to me a long time ago now and I have never really understood it. On the other hand it so compellingly actually and overwhelmingly HAPPENED that I have never after been the man I was before it happened. I have always been grateful because I saw it, have always seen it, as a GOOD THING. I admit however that not everyone would see it that way if it happened to them and I doubt that anyone cares much that it happened to me.

I once thought I was supposed to get you all to care and that somehow this goal figured fairly directly in "Saving The World". This was back in the late 60's and early 70's, when such thinking was kind of ordinary. Later my thought metamorphosed as I joined with a kindred spirit and tried to make something happen. It all faded by the end of the seventies. The tasks became more ordinary and my wife suggested I return and finish my Bachelor's degree. I used this stuff I had specialized in and turned it into the last 28 credits I needed. I became a fairly rare critter, a holder of a Bachelor's in Philosophy and Psychology who earned his living as a machine designer in heavy industry - in Lumber, then Pulp and Paper, then Plywood, then as a consultant, and finally in Food Products.

All the while, it buzzed in the background, my commitment to that thing that happened, the lodestone of my life. Along the way I met another designer who said his religion was, "We either all go to heaven or we don't!" That's a statement that is actually profound theology and you can find it in more complex formulations if you chose to look in the theological literature. For example, the Universalists in the amalgam of the Unitarian-Universalist faith today actually hold to a variant of that statement, I beleive. He said it and it has turned out that I beleive it. I found my spiritual task had metamorphosed into a kind of Bodhisattva ideal - that I was now working to get us all to heaven - so to speak.

I ran into Buddhism (where the Bodhisattva ideal arises) and realized another thing. There are myriad paths and they partake of two types, the long ways and the short cuts. You see, the whole thrust of the Buddhist thing, if I may be so bold, is to jump the track of the Hindu polytheist long way home into a beyond the need of any god short cut that theoretically can be accomplished under the right discipline in a single life.

That very few actually do this is not surprising. The long way is our natural walk and will eventually bring success despite all confusions and resistances. The Bodhisattva is one who helps and we need more helpers so this is something to do. You don't actually try to escape but to set yourself into a helping position instead.

If you want to see it this way, the same sort of thing can be said of the mideast Judaeo-Christian monotheist traditions where the long way is held by the Jewish forbears and the short cuts have been accomplished first by Christians and then improved upon (so they say) by the Muslims. Our modern conflicts are all about the long term consequences of these variant visions as they impact each other. Christians might be allied with Jews these days but it wasn't always so. There have been historical periods where Jews escaped into Muslim zones because while the Muslims were not that kind the Christians were far more vicious.

I don't intend to get into all this, just to point out the context of the poem. There is such a thing as a spiritual short cut. Some people live for that. That is unusual. It is far more usual - most of us are doing the journey taking the long way even when we offer reverence for the short cut.

The Long Way

The glitter deceives
us as night takes our vision.
We are left with bones.
How the moon opens
her heart, how she sobs, cries out
across all our years,
waxing and waning,
and the tides still rise and fall.
So it is with us
as we rise and fall
according to the long way
we have still to go.

September 24, 2010 9:56 AM

The Long Way

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

It's All Your Fault

That I know this behavior at all well is discouraging since I want to reach some form of spiritual maturity.


Perhaps in the next life. But as I have written before, in an argument with God I got myself into this. This is a life not exactly in the main track He had planned for me but is instead a life where I am engaged in proving a point. I am in a life He has permitted me. I suppose I am using up my slack time. Oh well.

It's All Your Fault
(I Need You, I Need You, I Love You)

If you had no light
I would fall short of myself
in uncertainty
and my anxious need.

I would blame the world again.

I would lay down hard
on the dust bin pile
and allow my soul to puff
out my sides like spores,
say it serves you right
that I deflate before you.

See what your dark does,
what you make me do?!

September 23, 2010 9:28 AM
Finished August 19, 2014 3:05 PM

Monday, August 18, 2014

Before There Were Men

Indigenous modern horses died out in the New World at the end of the Pleistocene, about 12,000 years ago, and thus were absent until the Spanish brought domestic horses from Europe, beginning in 1493.

The evolution of the horse occurred over a period of 50 million years, transforming the small, dog-sized, forest-dwelling Eohippus ("dawn horse") into the modern horse. Paleozoologists have been able to piece together a more complete outline of the modern horse's evolutionary lineage than that of any other animal.

Horses share a common ancestry with tapirs and rhinoceroses. The perissodactyls (the group of animals that include horses) arose in the late Paleocene, less than 10 million years after the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event.

Before There Were Men
(The North American Plains)

I run with horses
across the plains with matched gait.

I nudge them, call them
forth with plaintive cry
for all that once was, before
we were to ripen
on the vine of time.

You were busy elsewhere then,
dreaming Asian dreams.

September 22, 2010 11:00 AM

Sunday, August 17, 2014

How Stupid Can I Get - A Magpie Tale

Photo by Stainforth supplied by Tess
as a writing prompt for this week's

How Stupid Can I Get

I fell off the boat
doing a way stupid thing,
walking the handrail.
No one saw me fall.
No one heard my call either.
This water is cold
and my legs are numb.
I can't tell if that's a shark
nibbling off my toes.
No one saw me fall
but you.

August 17, 2014 1:07 PM

Saturday, August 16, 2014

A Mummer's Eye View

Court Mummers

For those who care enough, you can read about mummers here: Mummers Plays

A Mummer's Eye View

I too love the gesture.
I mean this thing's pantomime
if it is at all.

No matter, we shall go
down the path of dancing hands
tracing out sacred
signs passed down to us.
We will find though it softens
that still it shatters.

September 19, 2010 7:46 PM

Monday, August 11, 2014

And Have Not Love

Even though I should fly with the wings of angels, if I have no love then I am hollow and false.

Angelic Aspirations

If I were to wait
with you in the weeds, the verge
of the world, tasting
the idle weaving
of clouds and birds and blue sky
and making all that
my own slow notion
of how you have entered me
and feathered your nest,
used my right lung's air
as your very own after
granting all wishes
I held in secret,
if I were to wait with you
I might earn my wings.

September 19, 2010 4:30 PM

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Orchestral Brass

Orchestral Brass

It's hollow and long
and burnished in the late sun
of oratory.

I no longer can
purse my chapped lips despite hope
and our sharper skills
so I leave quartets
to others still able as
I once certainly
was. All is holy.
You asked and I so assert
as if that mattered,

not that it still does.

‎August ‎10, ‎2014 8:20 PM

This poem spins off of work by Iren Toh of Singapore. Find her poem on her blog, Orange Is A Fruit

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Just Visiting

The right color, but my shirt logo was all lower case
with the print small enough to be in one line.

I Have This Attitude Sometimes

Time's passage,
the normal suffering found
within time's passage,
the way none of us
depart unscathed,
how I turn, turn, searching
how to turn round right.

I am no exception,
cannot be one on this planet.

I once wore a black t-shirt proudly
'til I wore it out. In white it
said "only visiting this planet"
which would be all right with me.

September 18, 2010 7:23 AM
Edited, 9/19/10 4:15 PM

I want to live near here

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

On Being The Way I Am

Erethism, a word first used in or around 1800 meaning abnormal responsiveness or sensitivity to stimulation, coming from the Greek through French. Not only do I suffer alcoholism, I also suffer erethism, but not from Mercury poisoning. At least I don't think so.

Wiki says:
"Erethism or erethism mercurialis is a neurological disorder which affects the whole central nervous system, as well as a symptom complex derived from mercury poisoning. This is also sometimes known as the mad hatter disease. Historically, this was common among old England felt-hatmakers who used mercury to stabilize the wool in a process called felting, where hair was cut from a pelt of an animal such as a rabbit.

"The industrial workers were exposed to the mercury vapors, giving rise to the expression “mad as a hatter.” Some believe that the character the Mad Hatter in Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland is an example of someone suffering from erethism, but the origin of this account is unclear. The character was almost certainly based on Theophilus Carter, an eccentric furniture dealer who was well known to Carroll."

On Being The Way I Am
(But I mean well, don't you know)

My erethism
forces the hues surrounding
the roiling tendrils
of my knotted soul.
I sense the aneurysm
which I know will soon
burst and flood the scene
with all my good intentions,
as if that would do,
make up for all my
thoughtless actions which have caged
the tree of my fate.

September 19, 2010 2:48 PM.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

There are Black Butterflies

Tell Me

The black butterfly
left me your letter, many
paragraphs richly
encrypted, a code
of your distant devising.

It opened, popping
like seed pods often
split apart in shiny grins
with green teeth showing.
That left the black print
to shower down around me
in drifting dry piles.

Truly, tell me now.
Tell me what to do for you
to touch your red heart.

‎July ‎29, ‎2014 7:43 PM

Sunday, July 27, 2014

The Back Story - A Magpie Tale

Provided by Tess for this week's Magpie Tale

The Back Story

Aliens discussed
the planet with the Pharoah
and determined how
to get us buzzing
with rumors about ETs
by building big stone
buildings and all that.
Then they giggled on their way
to the next system
down the galactic
spiral arm with rubes like us
and did it again.

‎July ‎27, ‎2014 2:03 PM

A typical BEM from the fifties (bug eyed monster)

Friday, July 25, 2014

Split Stream

How can this ever all fit the bowl?

The guy in the glass
has gone on strike, posted notes
updating the pace,
pending the damp shame I feel
as my stream splits through
my leaking courage
and I have to mop the floor
again and again.

September 19, 2010 1:27 PM

Getting old is not for sissies.
They make devices to simplify a variety of situations
but you can't take this stuff everywhere.
Oh c'mon. You gotta laugh about this shit.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

I Stayed Too Long

The Maw Of My Heart

You told me to go,
saying that a visitor
staying overlong
stinks like old fish. I
feel out of sorts and monstrous
now that it's revealed
how little I thought
of you and yours in the maw
of my own heart's need.

September 19, 2010 12:55 PM

The Storm

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The House Finches

House Finch Eggs

Because House Finches use human habitations as nesting grounds, they are nearly tamed birds and their nests are often easy of access. This image is not mine but the story in my poem is something that happened to me.

I have been struggling to get my blogging feet back under me and some other things I am used to doing as well. Getting old is not for sissies.

On April 19, 2014 Irene posted on Orange Is A Fruit

a nest of finches

I’m fussing over a nest
of house finches. Over
the rambling roses, edged
in grasses and straws.
You asked me to hurry, get
dressed while I fluctuated.

So I dressed this verse
in a hurry, throwing on a
mint camisole over shorts.
You wore your welder’s cap,
fluffy curls peeking brown.
A small finch arrowed out.

A male and female House Finch.
The male has the color, of course, 
as is commonly the way with birds.

I replied in the comments:

The House Finches

The Jasmine bloomed thick
that year, full of white flowers
and that big perfume
and there, just above
eye line was the house finch nest,
angled out of sight
but I could hear them.

They wove it so carefully,
and there were three eggs,
I think three. I stayed
away from them all the while,
through the small hatching
and then all the flights
to feed the three tiny chicks
and they grew and grew
until one day that nest
tilted and spilled all three out
to the waiting cat
Hell Boy or perhaps
the stray who came from further
up our springtime street.

There was nothing left
but the nest all vertical
and old eggshell shards.

‎April ‎18, ‎2014 10:31 PM

House Finch Breeding Bird Survey Map
Image Credit: US Geological Survey

Friday, July 18, 2014

Standing Beside Myself

What is left behind,
a scrap of our past, twenty
years reduced to this,
splashes from the glass
that falls to the ground between
my splayed feet planted
below your window -
and you but a dangling twist
of cloth above me.

I must go, I guess.

It does me no good holding
court outside your house.

September 19, 2010 12:41 PM

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Jack The Ripper - Three Word Wednesday

Wiki says:
Jack the Ripper is the best-known name given to a never identified serial killer who was active in the largely impoverished areas in and around the Whitechapel district of London in 1888. The name originated in a letter written by someone claiming to be the murderer that was widely disseminated in the media.

The letter is widely believed to have been a hoax, and may have been written by a journalist in a deliberate attempt to heighten interest in the story. Within the crime case files as well as journalistic accounts the killer was known as "the Whitechapel Murderer" as well as "Leather Apron".

Three Word Wednesday offers these words for use in a posting:
Fraught; Honorable; Nocturnal

I've Seen Better Times

My old Scottish blood,
fraught with the Whitechapel scent
far from the calm seas
of honorable
nights well lived has me slinking
down cobbled alleys
with the feral cats.
They, like me, are nocturnal
at need and like me
they feed on moist bits.
The one sharp thing I still keep
is my stainless knife.

‎July ‎16, ‎2014 7:29 PM

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

After Losing Her Babies

The electron lept
off the wire onto her beak
and moist pinkish tongue
there to dance a jig
and flash into holy light
all white and blinding.
Raven held on tight
death defying claws and beak
while the particle
storm swamped her bird brain
and ate her whole raven life
leaving bones behind -
and feathers, always
there are black raven feathers
to mark a last day.

July 8, 2014 4:12 PM

Monday, July 7, 2014

Urban Life

Urban Life

The city takes us
as we are, but then changes
us beyond recall.
We say all fucked up
and we mean it - in secret
we care so much for
the truth of these things.
We would rather be found out
than give an inch, pray
for rain than lower
ourselves to touch their slime.
Still, we hope to win.

September 18, 2010 10:06 AM

Recently, I went into surgery on my eye for the third time. I hope I am nearing the end of my ordeal. Each surgery is in the 5-8k range. Medicare and supplemental insurance covers all but a couple hundred each. I am told all is well. I see much worse but I think that what has happened is the cataract has shifted somehow. The cataract has been developing as expected as a consequence of the three vitrectomies I have undergone. Cataracts are an inevitable consequence of losing the original vitreal jelly. I lost that fluid because the subretinal hemhorrage I suffered some time ago broke past the retina and bled into the fluid, ruining its clarity completely.

This operation was the easiest of the three but it has kicked my ass the hardest. I don't know why except to say I am aging and doing so fairly rapidly so I can't say from last year how I will be this year. Or in another way I might suggest that this third surgery has my body drawing a line and warning me not to open up a hole in the white of my eye again. That is what they have done in my vitrectomies. The doctor opened a hole, removed the fluid and the oil droplets left behind intentionally and then in the vacant space he had clear sight on the retina and what happened since he last looked. He said all is as good as it can be.

I have damage that can't be fixed but I also had other things that could be fixed. He trimmed away scar tissue last time and reattached the retina again. It had come loose again due to scarring. This time he saw that the retina had held in place where he put it. The time before it had not.

Next in a couple months I will have a cataract removal and lens replacement. I will soon enough have a bionic eye. Gotta love the city. It changes you. That's not all bad, perhaps. But right now I am not doing that well. I had some sight in that eye which is gone to be replaced with vague blotches of light and dark. And I do not feel well, spending lots of time in bed. I have been to the doctor and made sure that nothing obvious is wrong. I apply lots of eye drops, three different kinds as directed.

Saturday night my eye started hurting in a new way (considerring this is the same operation for the third time) and that's why I went to the doctor on Sunday. *sigh*

Tuesday, July 1, 2014


The North Star in a three hour time lapse.


I am stage managed
in my intention, willing
to change direction,
to stand on the "x"
at your cue, as you bring up
the lights, drop the scrim.

Soon I shall sweep clean
the stage of all the others,
stand alone as if
I am the North Star.

September 18, 2010 6:44 AM

Arrogance is a thorn in my side. I struggle. Not as much as I did in my younger days, but still. It is really hard to be humble. I work hard to continue to learn and I hone my various skills. If you ask me why I will be irritated and ultimately refuse to talk to you. Unless I am lonely or something. I try not to be like that though and try not to show it even if I am. Lonely or something. Heaven forbid you ever award me with any real power over others. It's not that I have any concept what I might do. It's that I also work hard to avoid anything like real responsibility as well.

Of course I fail in my program of action and I have responsibilities just like anyone else might and also I am burdened with knowing I am not good at avoiding things either. Just like all the other stuff I am not good at. Shit.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Daily Bread/Eschatology

On April 18, 2014 Irene posted

daily bread

My son did sit me down,
went through the holy
scripture. It all made
sense. I get it but my
heart doesn’t buy into it.
Faith is licking marble.

Jesus appeared to me
a white bearded man in
slippers, seemed more
a hippie confounding us
with spongy miracle bread
dipped in LSD fantasy.

I don’t like to be
mollycoddled. That’s
a cat walking on a tin
roof, my daily bread,
leavened in moonlight.
I’m just a cat shadow.

and I replied in her Comments section:


I caught you licking
stone as if you could change things
that way. What came next,
the wings and plucked strings
while golden eyes flashed brilliant
in the descending
armies of the Lord
and I said, "Oh shit" to that

(you know that terse phrase
is the most common
of last words men say)

time as it ran out.

‎April ‎18, ‎2014 7:19 PM

See Orange Is A Fruit

Sunday, June 29, 2014

At Least I'm Asking You - A Magpie Tale

Meredith Frampton, English artist, "A Game of Patience", 1937. Painter of highly finished portraits and still life, sometimes with a slightly Surrealist flavour, Meredith departed for parts unknown in 1984.

Go here for Tess' blog: Magpie Tales:Mag 226

At Least I'm Asking You

It took just one look
to send me over the edge.

Now I don't know to
shuffle or somehow
stack the damn deck and make sure
you stick here with me.

It's integrity
that's got me flying into
windows and leaving
feather prints behind.
So I ask you now, dearest.
May I eat your fruit?

Maybe the small one.

‎June ‎29, ‎2014 3:33 PM

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