Monday, August 31, 2009

Feeling Normal

Sometimes I find wings to fly, sometimes I don't. I am alcoholic in what we call recovery. It means I don't drink. It also means more than that. What it doesn't mean is sainthood. There are simple disciplines that are essential to staying free of drink. Honesty is one of them. Here is an honest poem.

Feeling Normal

It's sunny today.
I'm more used to dismal days
and the cloud cover
that hides the sunshine.
I have this urge to kick up
so much dust that gloom
returns and obscures
the clarity in the air,
ignite volcanoes,
create the winter
of my discontent anew
just to feel normal.

February 9, 2009 1:40 PM

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Maybe I Should Stop This

I am really, really stubborn. This is not good. :)

Maybe I Should Stop This

I said, give me signs.

You said you did, gave me sores
on my dreams of hope,
smallpox on my heart,
the grinding walk, stone on stone
and me between them,
lost and losing more.

You said suffering shows me
that I don't know shit,
that I don't think straight,
that I still persist, insist
that I have my way.

February 9, 2009 11:07 AM

It's a joke, okay?
Sort of.

Saturday, August 29, 2009


I would love (this is my conceit) to know a little more about what the future holds. I am convinced there are messages all over the place about that, in all sorts of esoteric languages I don't know. I keep looking askance, trying to see if anyone around me knows better than me. I think all the ones who know are staying out of sight somehow. This reminds me of the Taoist view on this, which is that real masters never look like masters. Most often they don't just not look like masters, but really seem to be screw ups of some kind or another. They look like no one until they suddenly shine.

I confess I wish I was one of those guys, but I really don't have it in me to do the work. I hate it that I can't save the world.


It all reads like code
and codebreaking isn't strong
in my kit of tools.

That's why I'm foolish
to be here, on this torn sod
with codified signs
telling me something
though I can't read what they say,
not even the gist.

February 9, 2009 10:52 AM

With My Long Rodent Teeth

There is always something. There is. It's enough to tire me out. Some mornings it hardly seems worth it to gnaw through the leather straps.

Grumpy Now

You told me to walk
on water, said that happens
when I find center,
lift my feathered wings,
hold my beak just so and slim
down for God's sake, please.

That's when I got grumpy. Hmphf!

February 9, 2009 9:47 AM

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Leonard Cohen Light

I am almost embarassed to be this naked. I might hesitate to say these poems aloud before an audience. I might be afraid they would see how true they are for me. I break down nearly every time I read Suzanne or listen to the song.

Suzanne - Leonard Cohen

Suzanne takes you down to her place near the river
You can hear the boats go by
You can spend the night beside her
And you know that shes half crazy
But thats why you want to be there
And she feeds you tea and oranges
That come all the way from china
And just when you mean to tell her
That you have no love to give her
Then she gets you on her wavelength
And she lets the river answer
That you've always been her lover
And you want to travel with her
And you want to travel blind
And you know that she will trust you
For you've touched her perfect body with your mind.

And jesus was a sailor
When he walked upon the water
And he spent a long time watching
From his lonely wooden tower
And when he knew for certain
Only drowning men could see him
He said all men will be sailors then
Until the sea shall free them
But he himself was broken
Long before the sky would open
Forsaken, almost human
He sank beneath your wisdom like a stone
And you want to travel with him
And you want to travel blind
And you think maybe you'll trust him
For he's touched your perfect body with his mind.

Now Suzanne takes your hand
And she leads you to the river
She is wearing rags and feathers
From salvation army counters
And the sun pours down like honey
On our lady of the harbour
And she shows you where to look
Among the garbage and the flowers
There are heroes in the seaweed
There are children in the morning
They are leaning out for love
And they will lean that way forever
While Suzanne holds the mirror
And you want to travel with her
And you want to travel blind
And you know that she will trust you
For she's touched your perfect body with her mind.


Leonard Cohen Light

Leonard said you paint
with light the way Suzanne took
me down. Oh God, I
have drowned in the glide
of the waves, the seafoam she
sent me, swirling to
my core as the light
in her eyes pierced me. I
long for life like this.
February 9, 2009 8:45 AM

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Syncopated Truth

I'm a derelict
of my own making, a hoot
of the departing
owl in that fable
you told me of an aging
rocker in retort.

A northern forest
full of critters in the band
who double up on
parts, fatten the tune
while I syncopate on drums
I beat with my hands.

February 8, 2009 1:17 PM

I just got back from jury duty, a two day case of hit and run with injury, guilty. Things have been a little sideways that way. Thanks all for your comments.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Saving Myself

Ghost Dansing has set this poem up precisely so I am bringing today's comment forward.

Ghost Dansing wrote

"i like when you write about your poetry because it helps me understand how wrong you are about your poetry :)"

How can I add to that?

Saving Myself

Sometimes my brain's like
a flock when the eagle shows,
and I scatter out
of formation to
save myself from being caught
in truth's twin talons.

What else can I do?

February 8, 2009 12:51 PM

The eagle is thinning the flock out pretty good :(

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Night and Day

Night and day, you are the one,
only you beneath the moon and under the sun,
whether near to me or far
It's no matter darling where you are
I think of you, night and day.

Keely Smith I believe. Certainly Sinatra.

Day and night, night and day, why is it so
that this longing for you follows wherever I go?
In the roaring traffic's boom,
in the silence of my lonely room
I think of you, day and night.

Night and day, under the hide of me
there's an, Oh!, such a hungry yearning
burning inside of me,
and this torment won't be through
until you let me spend my life
making love to you
night and day.

There's an intro section I didn't copy. Isn't this great writing? Go listen to it somewhere. It's a smashing song.

I used to sing this among many other Sinatra tunes to practice singing in my junior and senior years of high school. This was already older music by then, my dad's music. I would find a closet or some other enclosure somewhere separate from others and belt them out, or stay home from school and do the same in the empty house. That was best because we had Sinatra on old reel to reel tape and I could sing with him. I knew the vocal staging of Sinatra perfectly. I didn't have the voice for it really. Too bad. But what is good, it's why big band jazz rhythm is a part of my soul.

By the way, this reminiscence has very little to do with the poem :) There is just enough that I came by the mind freak tonight honestly.


I accept you. You're
the one who walks with magic
through the walls of time,
through the halls beyond
the dry daytime ways we walk,
and there you seldom
have true company.

I also know you here, sitting
draped across the knot
you fashion, your life
as a daytime creature, raw,
bleeding a little
when not caught in joy,
in the grand play of your heart.

I know you, jewel
from the loving flame,
with just a small spot or two -
creature of your dream.

February 8, 2009 12:07 PM

Saturday, August 22, 2009

I Know My Worth

I know you don't pick
me like I'm all important,
not to you I'm not,
not to anyone.
I know you give me more than
I'd ever deserve,
Not that I am less
But that there are so many:
you've so much to give.

Then I think again,
Know I am a sprouting seed
To you, yes I am.

February 8, 2009 11:27 AM


Somehow I have no extra words...

Please Soften Me

I am the hard earth
packed down by the passing time,
the tread of many
heavy feet, baked by
incessant sun through the days
of my exposure.

I hope your rain comes
to soften me, to seep in,
to loosen my joints,
to wet my dry veins,
to get my heart's blood to move
as it should once more.

February 8, 2009 10:13 AM

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Way He Did It, To Know Your Place

Hafiz is my hero. The story goes that he was so in love with God that he had no choice but to write. He asked his master, who assigned him at least a poem a day. There are thousands of poems attributed to him but not all of them survive. There are a goodly number in Persian (of which the modern version is called Farsi) and a number of people have translated him into English. Among the latest is Daniel Ladinsky, who has done a smashing job in my opinion. Emerson revered Hafiz. So did Goethe. Hafiz is a pen name for Shams-ud-din Muhummad. Hafiz means "memorizer" and is given to those who memorize the whole of the Quran. That is no small feat, the Quran is a big, dense book. He was a Sufi mystic, himself a master late in life after years of study with a master. Here is one from Hafiz as translated by Ladinsky, lines shaped by me,

Like a pair
of mismatched newlyweds,
I keep turning to God saying,

"Kiss me".


The Way He Did It

So my man Hafiz
went to taverns all the time
to get Heavenly.

Drunk on holy wine
lifts a man into the stream
of light behind holes
in the dark blue night,
the glad shine, god's eyes, bright true
blaze and then millions
of drunken angels
line up to kiss the holy
man who dares to fly.

February 7, 2009 8:58 PM


There is a reason, in my opinion, that the highest ideal in Mahayana Buddhism is the work of Bodhisattva, which will not be over until all sentient beings achieve complete and final awakening. C.S.Lewis agreed from a Christian perspective and wrote stories to illustrate our odd position in the cosmos.

It is really difficult to rise here. That seems to be built in. The Christians claim that Christ coming has broken it, making faith, forgiveness and love the root source of born again success, but only if you believe on Him. After more than two thousand years it is evident that this may be a true way but is not easy. It is not easier in the east where the normal course of struggle is aeons long, even though it is always claimed that awakening is right next door, even more intimate than that. Between one breath and the next, just turn a little. There you are.

We are all a stubborn bunch and we come by it inevitably as we live supported by this planet and all her inhabitants. Mr. Lewis said we are insane, have been quarantined from the rest of the universe, souls coming from everywhere out there as to a hospital of sorts to keep us from the rest. Out there we would only cause distress, being insane and unable to help ourselves. This is why true awakening cannot be but an individual thing here. As we gather, we manifest this insanity and we cannot rise above it in aggregate.

To Know Your Place

You would think by now
we would get over ourselves,
figure this life thing out,
know that the home world
has an orbit in near space
around this small sun
out the stellar arm
of an ordinary shaped
spiral galaxy,
not near the center
where we could not live at all,
not noticed by them,
the truly wise ones
because it's just not our time,
not our chance or turn.

February 7, 2009 9:18 PM

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Drinking New Wine, I Think Differently

I doubt this next poem expresses wisdom. It certainly offers passion. It also in its way is a metaphor for what happened to me. I assert that something like this saved my life, that I was offered spiritual drink and I took it at a critical moment. I knew I was dying. I did not know anything about spirit. I mean that quite directly and literally. I knew about church, nothing about spirit. Church without spirit is a dead thing. So I drank. I drank spiritual wine. Eventually years later, at the end before I got sober, I drank white wine from boxes, two or three a week. That's 10-15 liters a week.

What happened after drinking new wine in 1966, I began a lifelong unabashed quest for wisdom, sure that this yearning was God's gift to me, and it happened literally overnight. Sophia is my lover.

Drinking New Wine

I would take and drink new wine
even from the farthest goatskin bag,
to raise it above me and let the stream
of life spout out into free air, to mix
and mist a bit, flash in the sun
of my hope, the heat of my wild
and mutated life.

February 6, 2009 10:01 PM


I truly do want to know how the four footeds and the winged people think. I have lived intimately with cats most of my adult life and much of my childhood too. I know they think, and sometimes what they think. Given sufficient motivation, some of them will plot too. Now I am watching birds. I am convinced that if you figure what interests them and also factor in the way their sensory systems work, you will begin to see sensible behavior out of them too, the logic of biology. Far deeper and older than our upstart rationality which creates disaster as often (more often perhaps) as success.

I Think Differently

I am pretty sure
I wouldn't want to roost there
on top of that pole
which goes to show me
I just don't think like eagles
or ospreys or storks.

This disappoints me.

February 7, 2009 8:38 PM

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

What Our Life Is, Double Vision

Relationships. Does anyone know how to do them? I know that when you have easy people that it is far more possible to have good relationships. My last relationship was easy. It still ended. This next poem is about having storms in relationships.

What Our Life Is

I get a little
more tired each time we do this
but that's how it is
and I love you so
much that I don't really mind.
That's what our life is,
this storm that's right sized
even though it takes a bit
more that's not replaced.
Someday one of us
will not be here, the other
will grieve then for sure.

February 6, 2009 9:24 PM


I really love romance. I am a sucker for it. Given half a chance I start one up. I am happiest believing in love's power. It is no question true that magic is more likely to work when I am deeply in love. I have also known deeply how steep the cost. I am still a sucker for it.

Double Vision

All it takes is everything.
No half measures in the mix.
When my lover says take me now,
there is nothing left to do

but to continue walking up
the ladder to the ledge,
to see the view, to breathe in,
then make the approach.

Behold the result, an excellent
swan dive into the deep end.
But this is the way of memories.

In the world now I'm just the guy
in the back room punching buttons.

February 6, 2009 9:43 PM

Monday, August 17, 2009

The Street Tribe, The Way Out

It is of course possible that among all the street tribes there are some people who are capable of and enter into shamanic spaces. Some of these without the support of elders may actually achieve elevation. I do not believe many. And some of these may actually lift other street people so that they begin to express themselves consciously by making and accepting spiritual marks. The keynote there is "consciously".

On the other hand, unconscious expressions of spirit abound. That is more or less surefire proof for whatever it is that Carl Jung called the collective unconscious. And he is right in this: if you do not bring this expression of spirit to conscious integration, then any expression of spirit is driven by inner forces and does not require any understanding. That integration he called individuation, and more spiritually minded people call it "awakening".

The Street Tribe

Street tribe people mark
themselves and many other
things with nonsense, lost
in time, yearning for
the truth of their distant kin
who did the same with
meaning and open
hearts for God and Mother Earth,
for Moon, stars, for love.

February 6, 2009 3:10 PM


What follows is the story of my whole life. I have not one time been successful at deciding my fate and then going after it. I have tried, like deciding I would go to West Point and then doing it, but really my whole life has been run by meaningful accidents (the hand of God) that happen as I try to go my chosen way.

And then there have been other obvious choices in my life, seen by mothers and teachers and those kinds of people noticing my talents, and there was no way I could drive myself in those directions. I could not do it. One example of this, Mom thought I should be a head librarian or an actuary. Both of these jobs ultimately lead to six figure incomes (when, for example, the library is Philadelphia or New York).

I would act like I chose to refuse because I wanted to be seen as choosing, but that was a lie and I knew it at the time. It is a long term effect of all these experiences that I am sure that destiny is a viable concept, viable for me and for people like me. I have followed my destiny, but not really by choice, instead by acceptance.

The Way Out

I wanted to be.
I yearned for the good and wise.
You said, not enough.
That crushed me. Something
inside me rebelled, struggled,
sought escape from this
aching joint you left
me to deal with from here on,
then you showed me what
it was I could do,
said, here's a different way,
do that, and I have.

February 6, 2009 4:07 PM

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Deeper Than The Rest, Rain Gently Falls

There are three kinds of lice that infest humans. Head lice, clothing lice, and pubic lice. Pubic lice are very closely related to gorilla lice. We probably caught them in the days we used gorilla nests for our own. I hate to think how else we might catch them. This was early in human history. Head lice we share with chimpanzees from back a few million years. The body lice that live in our clothes migrated from head lice about 70,000 years ago. That's probably about the time we really started wearing clothes for real rather than casual. How's that for history? I got it from The Book Of Animal Ignorance.

Deeper Than The Rest

If I were a louse
I'd want to be a wood louse,
with abilities
beyond the louse norm
so I could use my legs, sway
to the music laid
with my eggs into
the rot of things and burrow
deeper than the rest.

February 5, 2009 3:26 PM


My instincts screw me up a lot. I am singular by instinct and the center of everything pretty much. It's a secret, you know. I would never tell you that it all revolves around me. That would be dangerous for you to know. You can't imagine how insulting it is to find out that you actually think it all revolves around you. How wrong you are!

Rain Gently Falls

You love me, I know.
I feel it so intensely
I must be the one,
the only one you
love for all eternity.

Then I notice clouds,
your love is clouds,
clouds in all known directions,
and rain gently falls,
falls everywhere.
You do not discriminate
and you love them too.

I admit this troubles
the limits of my being
with low jealousy.

February 6, 2009 10:45 AM

Saturday, August 15, 2009

The Point Of It, What I Want

I feel reading these again after this length of time that Feb 5 was an intense day. I caught a particular wave. The first poem was looking at it as it loomed well above my comfort zone. The second poem was looking at the swell of it passing beyond my reach.

"Lord look at me here, rooted like a tree here. I got the sit down, can't cry, Oh Lord, I'm gonna die blues."

Because there is nothing to do at that point but sing or dance or write or make love.

The Point Of It

The passage could have
been easier in smaller
turns, not so abrupt,
nor so risky terms,
but you had me on purpose,
moving me right out
beyond the loss point
no matter the price I paid,
it had come to that.

February 5, 2009 2:29 PM


Yes it has come to that. It has come to that point where there is nothing left to do but make peace with my life just as it is. I have tried to steer and every time I steer into a train wreck of some kind. So I have let go and let the mystery have me. The oddest things happen but I survive and as my self inflicted wounds heal, I even thrive. So don't be telling me I have to take charge of my own life. That is fucking insane for the likes of me. I just walk this path. Road building is not for me. It never has been. All my music, all of this, all the best of me is syncopation, accompaniment, response, harmony. I know this is true.

What I Want

On this point at least
we agree. I've never been
nor wanted to be
perfect, a hard job.
But oh my God, I want shine.
I want butterfly's
wings, iridescence,
the high flying riff in A
on that guy's guitar,
the scent your body
has after we have showered,
the words I might write,
as I have before,
in the afternoon today.
I want more of that.

February 5, 2009 3:15 PM

Friday, August 14, 2009

The End Of The Affair, Alien Dreams

I have told this story before. This is as straight up as I can tell it.

The End Of The Affair

I promised I would.
I said take me and do it
like that, tear my heart
right out if you must
because it matters to me
that you have your truth,
knowing that it would
not be me she chose. After
two years she sent me


February 4, 2009 8:43 PM


When I was ten I started to dream I was from some other world. I mean that literally. I wake from most dreams knowing that they are not about any place that I recognize from my life, this even when I recognize people. Most often I don't even know the people. I felt so alienated at ten that I couldn't make sense of belonging here. I have been searching ever since for ways to make sense of my situation. When I was 21 God intervened. Because of that the story I pursue dramatically changed. The search has not. I feel blessed that such a thing happened, feel that without it I would have failed utterly. This poem recalls an attitude that is real even if the story is not.

Alien Dreams

I am heart wrapped, stoned
by the presence of more lies
than truth, I admit.
Buried in sandstone
stories of the way it ought
to be if this was
the home world you said
I'm from, and I agree I'm
not from here, by God.

February 5, 2009 2:08 PM

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Point Of View, You Have Broken Me

These two poems are written about the same state of being. The title of the first poem is really the title of the entire post. These poems were written last winter.

Current: I had to go to the doctor, losing two days this week. I have been referred to Kaiser's sleep clinic to check out the possibilities of sleep apnea. I doubt that diagnosis. However, I hope they find something that works for me because I can't afford to cater to this loss of energy. I think it my trouble is the consequence of a moderately heavy ingestion of chemicals, what they call side effects. We also discovered what I expected, that I am not responding to the blood pressure meds and that means there is more to learn about that too. Another referral. Boring. What is interesting is, sleep disorder is subsumed under pulmonary, meaning about lungs. Blood pressure is subsumed under nephrology. Hunh. Kidney disease. Blood pressure if difficult is about kidney function. Hmmm.

Point Of View

I'm a lunatic,
know it from how many call
me that, used to hurt
me, now no longer
bleed out from such a wounded
lowly condition.

Instead I gather
roots and herbs, make my designs,
and dance around fires
painted and naked.
The world changes. The crows come
and caw approval.

February 4, 2009 9:57 AM


This following poem is a fundamentally Christian vision, not only in the primary image but in the sentiment. It is not the only Christian vision. It is not even, I believe, the predominant vision offered in the mainstream churches these days. It is a vision nonetheless of traditional depth and is based on both the idea of original sin and on it's solution.

You Have Broken Me

Oh God, Your hammer's
hit the nail into my wrist
with sharp stinging blows.
You say I fall prey
to self love this long held way,
that I seek to tell
everyone's truth
as I can name it, as if
my passion's larger
than life, larger than
You, it turns out harsh just that
way, nailing me down.

I think I know best.
I do. I think I know best.
You have broken me.

February 4, 2009 10:18 AM

Monday, August 10, 2009

This Is Not Right, Your New Magic

Much of magic is sourced in the manipulation of attention. I actually believe in this way there is no difference between life and magic. Some of magic is the control of powers. In this way too there is no difference between life and magic.

This Is Not Right

I got distracted
just for the one spare moment
and when I turned back
it had all been changed.

I do not know how that all
happened, like a knife.

I don't know how to
get it back the way it was.
Why am I the same?

February 3, 2009 8:29 PM


Some difficulties arise in associating with a magician. Here is one.

Your New Magic

I looked at myself
in your mirror. Some kind of
weird bird looked at me.
This backs me up some,
like I come to your new house
only to discover
I have changed my shape
to do it or worse, you have
done it with your new

February 4, 2009 8:56 AM

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Coyote, Reminder

Everything changes, I guess. I had a rhythm and I made a vow. It appears that a phase of my life has finished, and that its finish is sourced in energy or its lack. I was driven by forces as I often am. I will surf along the tops of the waves and learn the gracious moves if I can so that I appear in control of things but really I am waiting for the surf to subside and then will wait for something else to come. In the meantime I will discover what remains.

Just about this time last year I began writing rapidly with drive behind it. I now have just over 900 poems written in 365 days. I don't know why it started and now that the cycle is over I don't know why it has ended. It is obvious that I cannot now hold myself to the two poem a day ideal. I don't need to know the why of it, I need to celebrate the gift of it.

I just spent a weekend more like the ones I spent more than a year ago. For no particular reason at all I had no computer time on Saturday, and the minimal required time today. As a behavior new to my life, I took two naps Saturday and one today. I accept. I believe these changes are necessary. When the new phase comes in some future moment, whatever it is, then I will do that. In the meantime, I am still writing poetry but more like one a day and since I had the whole weekend off this weekend I guess it may turn out more like a few a week, maybe none eventually.

This is nothing new for me, to spend a year or two intensely involved and then move on. Sometimes I return. Sometimes I do not. Each time I behave as if this is timeless, will go on forever. It never does, though some things do return again and again, like music and like poetry has. Even if I completely stopped writing poetry today (and I won't) I still have something like 200 days of postings to come.

That's a lot of time for something else to happen.

But even gods are left behind.


I was a god once,
maybe not so graceful then
but definitely
clever, maybe not
so compassionate my heart
but definitely
needed. Now you chase
me, shoot me, feed me only
by some accident
and I'm wandering
in search of someone who will
dance the old dances.

February 3, 2009 8:08 PM


It is said of alcoholics and other dysfunctional people that they do not have relationships, they take hostages. I hope I am better than that. I am now living as alone as I ever have. Even my old girl cat is gone.

She was once this amazing kitten, so amazing that I took a photo. It was really good. Ann sent it off to the calendar people. They agreed. She was born early in 91 and so in spring she was perfectly posed, a young part Siamese kitten who looked like a raccoon kit, laying draped along our weathered wood fence, surrounded by the greenery and flowers.

First Ann sent it to the Page a Day folk for inclusion in their main page a day calendar. They rejected her I think because she was a mix breed Siamese. That calendar tends to feature purebreds a little more. Then Ann saw the kittens wall calendar and we resent. In 1997 she became January 31 and a cover girl, along with several other kittens, thus appearing twice in the calendar. She could not have cared less. I was so proud, I eventually had the whole thing framed. She was not only a calendar girl, but a cover girl. But now she has gone into the mystery.


I will not hold you
trapped in dreams I have, not those
dreams of perfection
that I like to dream.
Instead I will take the moon's
rays and weave of them
a bracelet, remind
you of your freedom, of hope,
of your destiny.

February 3, 2009 8:46 PM

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Modern Art, Grumpy People

The first time I got a full case of dismay was back in my hippie days. It got real clear that the movement that was in so many ways trying to rise above the commercial objectives of that time was being what we called co-opted. Hippies were well known for such ideas as *free love*. Imagine some shit for brains naming a condoms brand Free Love. That's the basic idea. I just made that up, and I doubt the brand would flourish, but it might well survive. Of course that is what happened, along with other pressures. Business as usual actually took away something essential and now hippies are widely felt to be a joke. There are certain places especially on the west coast where hippies in more or less pristine form still exist, but mainly in obscure locations. We don't have much room for hippies in the mainstream.

Back in the day I claimed for myself a submergence. I went into the mainstream behind the idea of going into deep cover. Of course in some ways that is a joke I make, but there is a kernal of truth. One basic example, when I got my first drafter trainee position, I felt I had to interview and start my new job wearing a wig to cover my long hair. That didn't last long. Instead I cut my hair. There were some longhairs working but not many. I needed the job. Ann was going to grad school. We had rented a slum house, though the neighborhood wasn't bad and the house was basically sound. I sacrificed by going even further under cover. That shorter hair thing took root with me. Now I periodically cut my hair short, about 1.5" or so and let it grow out, over and over to 3-4" long. I get 3 haircuts a year max. Long hair is actually dangerous in my profession.

Modern Art

The shape of chaos
invites me to fall forward
flat against my nose
trying to understand why
it needs any frame
but the smart guys will
frame it and sell it
and some shithead will buy it
and that's all there is to that.

They tell me I have
a really bad attitude.

February 3, 2009 9:10 AM


Here's a grumpy attitude, by God! I don't think I will say much about this, except to say there is a weird distant connection between both poems.

Grumpy People

Be grateful, they say
as if in saying grateful
I can be grateful.
There must be room for grumpy
people on the holy path.
The sludge of this thing
has it's place, sewage gives life
even though it stinks.

February 3, 2009 11:27 AM

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Clandestine Love, What Is Compassion

This is a simple poem of truth. This fact of her arrival is what stands behind my choice and the price I paid for it when I entered Clandestine Love. Knowing, Oh shit! This is really going to hurt!, knowing that as sure as anything I have ever known, also I knew this: my world was remade.

Clandestine Love

I do remember.
The moments of waiting for you
To come, the green shape
Of your chariot,
The stamp of the hooves, the snorts
And wild equine eyes
As you tied up out
Front. Then you came in my door.
My world was remade.

February 2, 2009 7:48 PM


Please do not mistake tenderness for pity. Also do not mistake a compassionate man for a weak one, nor for one who will back down when hard decisions are called for. However, please know that mercy carries far more weight than justice in the tangled weave of delusional self will that bends and twists the outcomes in most of our lives. Thus do not mistake a merciful man.

What Is Compassion

The wise man
taught me words for it,
said when you reach the far stars,
see with God's bright eyes,
the world's need rises
and you are tender but still
far away and free
and you can reach down,
touch in tenderness without
getting caught in traps,
and you are filled up
with the force of tenderness
like juice in apples.

February 3, 2009 9:00 AM

Everything's Jake

Nothing wrong that a whole bunch of extra hours in the day wouldn't fix. Love you guys.

Monday, August 3, 2009

A Change Of Plans

This weekend I received a phone call from Betsy, my deceased wife's sister, one of three. When my wife, Ann was in desperate trouble, Betsy came out from Ohio, hoping that in coming and taking Ann back to Ohio with her, she might be saving Ann's life. It didn't work. Ann died in less than a year. That was in 2001, a month after 9/11. Betsy and I really like each other and have stayed connected through the years. She had news for me. Mary, Ann's elder sister has passed. Mary's death also, like Ann's, was an alcoholic death driven by mental illness. Now mother and both oldest sisters have died in the same general way. Alcoholism in this case is batting four for three. That is because within two months of his wife's death, Ann and Mary's dad died of a heart attack. I wound up writing a poem today about scattering Ann's ashes which I am going to post, jumping the queue. The poem records an event that took place in 2002.

Ann wanted her ashes scattered in Lake Erie and Betsy did that. Betsy held a portion of her ashes back for me and I still have a small stash that I may scatter sometime. I scattered Ann up at Willamette National Cemetary with her aunt and uncle buried there, behind our old house where we lived for more than ten years, under the dogwood tree here at this house, and I took her to Newport, Oregon, where we started out after grad school. It was her first job in Social Work, working for the State of Oregon. It was my first job as a designer after I had trained as a drafter for two years with a firm in Portland. We got married there in Newport. I dumped most of Ann's ashes (the small portion given to me) in a shallow depression I dug in the sand at the tideline, letting the surge take her where it would.

Mary had a harder time getting along with anyone as her illness progressed. Ann and Mary did not do well, especially at the last when Ann was so sick and now Mary has died a similar death.

By the way, there is more alcoholism present in this story. Ann's aunt was the victim of a drunk driving accident. Her husband was driving and they were hit by a drunk driver. They were hit broadside which spun the car around, and Ann's aunt was thrown from the passenger seat and died of her injuries at the scene. The couple in the back seat were also killed in the impact. Ann's uncle, who was driving, had the right of way, and the drunk ran a stop sign. Her uncle walked away without a scratch and so did that drunk. Ann's uncle has since passed, living over a decade without his wife. That is part of why I felt it right to put some of Ann's ashes at their gravestone. Now I can periodically visit them all. I do. I consider that place a power point in my life. None of the family are near. One year there were flowers from an unknown source on that grave. It might've been the kids. It also might've been the drunk, who we were told settled in the Portland area. The thing about the flowers, there didn't seem to be enough of them, nor of the right kind to have been from the kids.

I am pensive just now.

The Long Green Glass

With my friends I took
as you gave me your ashes
to Newport, the beach
we would walk early
in our years together, when
we had no money
nor did we know what

would come. I dug a tideline
hole for you, there placed
your dream as it poured
from the long green glass a thin
ashy stream as we
who knew you witnessed
the tide come for you and take
away from us all

old false empty hope.

August 3, 2009 12:59 PM

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Another One Of Those Questions, Why Do I Do This

Yes, indeed, how many are there?

Another One Of Those Questions

How many are there
living in the sweet calm lake
of love contented
to be so long paired
that the wedding is only
the pictures, the old
announcement, the ring
still worn if not lost somehow?

February 2, 2009 1:57 PM


There are the big things in my life. Even at this point, I really don't know what to make of them. I know the illusions I followed. I know what I wanted but that was never possible. Three times I tried. Instead I have the life of the possible. That is all right with me. I am all right.

Why Do I Do This

You tell me to check
so I look in all the back
rooms, in the boxes
I stashed there, looking
for motives, hidden behind
the obvious ones.

Out of the corner
of my eye something scurries
along the wall, dives
into that small hole
and refuses to come out,
not even for you.

That is, you say, the main motive.

February 2, 2009 2:42 PM

Saturday, August 1, 2009


I have needed this time for resting. I will post tomorrow. I love you guys.

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