Tuesday, January 27, 2009

At The Edge Of Things, Stampede

While I am writing this, I am listening to Kaukonen sing Genesis, courtesy of Faith, who posted it on Stones From My Heart. That takes me back. See the comment I made on her post there for why. I was a Bay Area Hippie.

I have long been taken with the simple truth of this life. No matter how far out you get, how adept, how spiritual, the dishes still need doing. As the Zen master replies when the student asks, "What shall I do when I am enlightened?" the Zen master says, "Chop wood, carry water." The same is true of guitarists listed in the top 100 in America as Jorma is... Same for you and me. As one wag in the military said of the General, "He still puts his pants on one leg at a time."

At The Edge Of Things

I slice me open,
Display myself on the table
Set for your visit
To my place of rest,
To the hut I built today
At the edge of things.

I am laid out here
To show the deep fine structure,
How I'm shaped for you.
I am not afraid
Of being naked, raw, skinned,
Wild in your presence.

Outside, at the edge of things
Stuff goes on as usual.


Here's a poem about being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Have you ever made a decision that blew up in your face as a complete surprise? In this story I went to the lake one day to have a good time, to get peace and quiet, a little spiritual retreat.


Feel it in the ground.
Forest shakes beyond the lake,
Further up the hill.
The water will not stop it.
My worry does not stop it.

Dust clouds rising up
Just behind the ridge nearby,
Coming to this lake
That was a refuge for us.
No one warned me, no one said.


  1. I am glad I posted the song. It took me back too -- to when I was 16 or so. I used to listen to the album "Quah" quite a lot -- and just recently found the cd so at the moment I am living in the past:).

    Both poems are great. I think I have to let them sink in a bit more before I comment. I will be back, I'm sure.

  2. Faith, I am glad you posted the song too. I feel quite alone in my love for Kaukonen and Hot Tuna. I went to a Hot Tuna show a couple years back and saw how many people care actually. I never knew there were so many aging Hippies around. Heh.

    But in my circle, I'm the only guy, as is so often true, like I'm the only guy that blogs and while one other reads me, tells me so, he won't comment.

    I too prefer Hot Tuna, but Jorma had to do the other to get there. The music he does is a follow on to the music he started with, partnering with Jack Casady in Wash DC, I read. Then he came out and did the Airplane with Paul and Jack, who he got to come out too, and the others. They all got what they needed, I guess, that way so they could go on. After several years he pulled out to do Hot Tuna, took Casady, and the group turned into the Starship because the Airplane was Jorma's name...

    To think. I am 63. Jorma is at least 65.

  3. I went to a Hot Tuna concert when I was a teenager. It was a bit too wild for me. There was one point during the intermission when I was trying to go somewhere and I realized I was moving forward but my feet were not touching the ground! Crowded! And then I missed the bus home and was stuck in Passaic, New Jersey forever in the wee hours of the morn waiting for the next bus. Boy, did I catch hell when I finally got home! Funny, how that is what I remember more than the actual music :(.

    I am rereading your poems. "At the Edge of Things" really impresses me. I keep thinking about what it would mean to be so open. I think I, myself, am very much afraid of being "naked, raw, skinned..." But it must be so liberating to allow that. Often with my poetry, I feel myself holding back part of what is inside of myself. I never really expose it all.
    The last line "Stuff goes on as usual" is so true.

    And the second poem expresses so well that feeling of surprise when a decision blows up in your face. I think I will remember the last line well. "No one warned me, no one said."

  4. Faith, in the business you call that being upstaged, when something outside the show's intent steals the focus. Most of the time I stay away from those shows even today because the crowds upstage the concert for me. Even the parking does. But I am glad to have seen the aging Kaukonen, saw the tour bus too. What a way to live. He had Casady and a mandolin player, Barry something. No drums, didn't need them.

    I remember the other site that you shut down, and how those poems were more like that. So I know you have it in you, but I also see this wish to hold back. As an old hand at recovery, I know there is a big deal in these kinds of changes, of giving up the old life. It is not easy and also can't be rushed except in the most drastic circumstances.

    A full blown life threatening crisis can force the kind of change from shut away to wide open, sometimes. Other people would rather die first. That's the only way to force it. I know I was connected for years with a group that could have helped me be more open about things and I lied through my teeth the whole time. When my crisis came, I left them behind in order to do the rest of my recovery...it was too humiliating.

  5. You have given me a lot to think about. Thank you.

  6. Now if I saw something like that when I answered the knock on my door, I would say the world had changed, and then promptly, probably would find all my sphincters puckering.

    I would certainly take such a visitor personally. As in, why me??

  7. you seem to be a little monkish..... i think alien electric monks would be oddly attracted to you.... prolly follow you around and such...

  8. oh fine, my first full blown real fan is a damn alien electric monk!

  9. I have gremlins. They've stolen my stuff for years, then put it back when I've bought replacements.

  10. a likely story.... nobody believes in gremlins

  11. i may have been mistaken.... i've found evidence of gremlins on the internets......

    however, i suppose you're going to say the gremlins were responsible for this....

    i'm afraid it's time to take paternal responsibility for your seminal thoughts my friend..... the forest fairies are fecund....the tiniest poetic thought sends the ether dancing and causing their multiplication..... you sir, are the sire

  12. I gladly accept responsibility for dealings with the fae folk. It is true that Mab comes for tea during the several faerie hours between 2:59 and 3:00PM on Tuesdays. I must confess to this. However, I do not accept responsibility for miscegenation in any form. If what I write fires up the folk and they do what passion says to do, then sobeit.

    However, Mab said a certain pirate has been diddling around with the flow of things as well...

    As for gremlins, they do not look at all like inept dragons, nor like the bs of recent movies. If you can see them at all out of the corner of your eye, they look like very small versions of ordinary folk except for the clothing. Or no clothing. They too, are well endowed and shapely.

  13. I feel as though I am eavesdropping, but the two of you have facinating conversations!:)
    (and very interesting links!)

  14. Faith you are welcome here. How could we not know that someone might be watching? It would really be bad form to try to object to you reading what we write. The ghost pirate who claims to danse (I have never seen that danse, however) is the linksperson as you might notice.

    That link is the first time I ever saw a pregnant fairy. I have her on my desktop now. I had to promise I would remove her at birthing time.


The chicken crossed the road. That's poultry in motion.

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