Sunday, February 28, 2010

I Have Lost My Breath

What I write here or something like it has happened more than once in my life. I assume that at the last it will happen again. I come from the neck of the woods where the doorway to heaven is broad and all inclusive. I hung out with Unitarian-Universalists for over ten years in the 90s. The Unitarian side claims there is no exclusive truth of God and that personal conscience is fully capable of discerning truth if only one chooses to look with education and without prejudice. One can seek and find in most if not all traditions a true path. Jesus is optional. The Universalist side claims that in the words of my friend so long ago, “we either all go to heaven or we don’t.” These ideas are challenging in many places but accepted in many others. The Bahai, the Mahayana Buddhists (the majority), and most Hindu philosophy schools (there are so many) come to mind. That’s a big chunk of humanity, many people who all think somewhat alike in these matters.

From time to time people try stuff to bring this kind of thinking out in the open in Christendom. A fellow by the name of Matthew Fox (not to be confused with Emmett) offered us a controversial reversal and placed Original Blessing in place of Original Sin, claiming that this whole thing was severely misunderstood. He got in trouble with some people over that. Back a number of years Pere Teilhard de Jardin decided that Armageddon should be replaced with what came to be known as Omega Point theology. He got in trouble with some people too.

In other words, there is among many of us an urge to frame spirituality in a more positive light somehow. This is also the thrust of New Thought religions, which are a reframing, a rereading of the Gospels in a Neo-Platonic light, bringing the highest Greek thought contemporary with Jesus into the gospel message. These people claim that John is representative of this tradition, that it was fully present then, and so strong that the Church Fathers had to include his book in the Gospels. It is arguable that Jesus was educated enough to know this material, or if you want, as God incarnate was very familiar with Truth of which Platonic ideas are a strong expression. Eric Butterworth taught me to consider New Thought in this way.

I Have Lost My Breath

Inner space tells me
I am too weary to go
one more step this way
and I fall face first
as if I had no truth near
my old swiss cheese soul,
and none with true gift
enough to send the white light,
to illuminate
my dusty life.

Then this flock appears, angels
who give me more than
I deserve.

April 15, 2009 10:25 AM

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Tired Of Waiting

I am an itchy person. I don’t do well at stand up parties because I squirm. I squirm in lots of ways. One of the reasons the women in my life will think of me as a bear, I use walls and other pointy stable things to scratch my back. Just thinking about itching is not good. I notice that these days I do sit more still. I think it is the blood pressure meds that do it. I don’t know if it is good that I am less restless. This planet has earned my restlessness, I think. I used to drink. The world deserves a drink. Now that I don’t drink, what can I do??

It’s a problem. I looked to the experts. They offered a solution. I don’t like the solution. Now what?? As my friend Vivian says, "They offered me door number one. They offered me door number two. There are only two doors. I want door number three."

Tough shit.

Tired Of Waiting

I am so restless,
impatient, tired of waiting,
sure you said you'd come,
soon you said. How come
you're not here right now, damn it?
I need to scratch now.

I have no choice, none.
Not without you, not without
your damn permission.

April 9, 2009 3:41 PM

Friday, February 26, 2010

It's Monsoon Season

I had the wonderful chance to spend real time in Bengal from 1967 thru 1969. Known as East Pakistan at the time, this part of the world is now known as Bangladesh. I spent most of my time in the city of Dhaka (spelled at that time, Dacca). In this part of the world there is a cooler dry season and a warm wet season, the Monsoon. Bengal is fronted by the Bay of Bengal, and at the back are the Himalayas. The wet air is pushed inland hard up against the cold mountains, forced to rise and falls back over the land as over two hundred inches of rain basically in six months. That’s just over an inch a day. That’s wet. Remember that not every monsoon season day was a rainy day. It often rained several inches in one day.

Remember in Forrest Gump when he talked of and they showed the rain in Vietnam? It would happen just like that. There were strange things that happened too. There is so much energy in that kind of weather. There could be hurricanes. There could be tornados. In high winds the corrugated tin roofs held on huts by bricks and such would take off flying. That was not good, not good at all.

I once tried to return to work after lunch and stepped out into a chartreuse colored sky. There was so much electricity that the hairs on the back of my neck stood up. I turned right around and went back inside. A tornado touched down shortly after in another part of town. That storm that day broke our papaya tree in half. It was a young tree, only 4” diameter.

I am writing about another common vision. You could be in bright sunshine with blue sky overhead watching a storm cloud complete with lightning and downpour only two blocks away fly by. I just loved that weather, the best thing about living there.

Over 40% of that land is under water every year. Without the monsoon it is the most crowded country on the planet, and every year Bangladesh loses 40% of its land to monsoons. In my poem, I say I will drink. However, in Bangladesh, all that water is better left on the ground. It is contaminated by overcrowded human presence for thousands of years. It might be right to observe that the yearly monsoon bath the country takes is the cleansing that allows humans to continue living there without being sickened by their own waste building up on top of itself. It all washes into the bay.

It's Monsoon Season

The darkness and storm
is headed down the side street,
couple blocks away
from me and I'm parched.

It's monsoon season. You might
not understand how
that relates but when
this is all over I will have more
than enough to drink.

April 9, 2009 12:47 PM

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Taking Direction

I keep discovering my humanness. It is awkward and often painful when I do this. I have trouble living on the planet. The world certainly deserves a drink, I just don’t take it and haven’t for a long time now. Oh yes, certainly there is great beauty and loving kindness and art and all that. When I wake in that grimy place I know so well, then what I know beyond question is that even with all the beauty, loving kindness and the rest, it simply isn’t worth it. I am grateful that I am not often immersed in that place. Most of the time I live in another place, the one where you just get up and do it again, looking for those bright little moments that make things worthwhile for a little time. I had one of those today, a fresh little moment of excellence that nearly hit perfection. That’s like the times when my music hits the groove. I will walk away from those moments pretty sure that they almost balance things. They would balance things, I muse, if I could reach those moments more easily, more often. But I know better. I know that you get used to things in the new way and soon, where ever you go, there you are.

That’s why the age of miracles is over, I mean the big ones, the manna in the desert, pillars of fire and like that. We get used to anything and then it’s just ordinary. So if God wants a miracle, He has to slip it in any more. It has been well established for a long time that we are unimpressed. We need the circus and we need it constantly. Miracles are far too ordinary. Only fantasy works. Heh.

Taking Direction

So you said to me
I am to live in the now,
not planning so much,
but then you said, wait,
I forgot you have no clue
what's right or what's wrong,
so for you, you said,
planning might still be required.
Guidance might be wise.

Now I'm pissed at you.

April 8, 2009 12:22 PM

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

To An Old Love

Here is a poem about agreements, about the inner life of agreements. The scene in the poem is made up. In a way, however, my marriage ended like this. It ended in agreement. A lawyer was needed to cross tees and dot eyes. The lawyer was retained by my wife, not by me. I looked into getting my own, was advised to get one. I had a meeting with one and on the basis of that meeting, I decided to risk not retaining a lawyer. My wife told me at one point that she had to argue with her lawyer because the lawyer wanted to get more from me. Ann knew what was right already, and so it went, just as we agreed.

This marriage began and ended in agreement.

To An Old Love

You crossed my mind on
yet another of your walks,
the ones that lead you
further from my path
as you go your own sure way.

I remember this:
crystals, sun catchers,
the seven you insisted
were yours. You would take
these, you said, just these.
I agreed though my heart broke.
I watched as you left.

Now I weave old souls.
In the warp and weft of things
They shine, inner light.

April 8, 2009 7:50 AM

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

My Garden

Really interesting. This life never fails to amuse me, if not today, then tomorrow. Tonight is better than last night was. I am much less exhausted. I am struggling to keep my blog visits though. I don’t have the time at work or the energy at home. I have a reader. I get the time to read, just not the time to comment. So I am happy to report to my blog friends, I am staying up with you, at least a little.

My Garden

I am not a real
gardener because I leave
stuff alone, where it
finds root without me
and call that good enough, then
defend as if I
chose those plants in those
places, as if I could plan
better than God plans.

April 7, 2009 11:07 AM

Monday, February 22, 2010

What Happened Just Before I Spoke

I have gone and slipped between worlds again. I spent my day trying to untangle the information left me to do the final set of drawings for a modernization we made to the Premium Cracker line last fall. I am working on the power and control drawings, the wiring and equipment involved. These drawings are called “as built” drawings. This is very tedious work. Soon I will go to the chiropractor and while there I will get a massage. Right now I am contemplating this poem I wrote last April, in the morning. I wrote this in remembrance of other times and places. I guess I was feeling my oats, as they say. I am certainly too worn out to be the mage of this poem today. I have had better days.

What Happened Just Before I Spoke

My incantation
could do deep harm, as you say,
and I shall take care
when I utter words
of power. I stand firm in
my concern that worlds
will not be shattered
because of me when I speak
in tongues of bright flame.

You walked away. I
began. You shook your shaggy
mane, your tail at me.

April 07, 2009 8:50 AM

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Choosing My Way

This weekend was tax weekend for me. I am grateful for my good habits. It mainly means working Quicken to sift my records. This cuts the time in tenths I believe. I get done in one day what would take ten. My other good habit...I don't chase money. Even though I get money back and know I do, I don't need it to live. I am not rich but I am also not broke. Thank God. This lets me ease up completely. I am not squeezing the dime, not cheating because I must, not even a little worried.

I did all the readying of the program, getting it up to date last week. I did all the dirty work this week. I didn't have time to finish. I will efile next week. The money will become my retirement contribution this year. That's the end of that.

There are people would shake their heads at the way I don't maximize every last dime. I find my wastage completely worth my peace of mind. Fuck money. Let my boss be the half crazy millionaire with all the big stuff and latest gadgets. I will make my wage that is good enough and let it go.

I would rather not have to deal with this shit.

Choosing My Way

I can tell you've gone
into the back woods again
by the tracks you've left
as if placed for me,
thoughtfully, or else I will
follow young ravens
you sent here for me,
trusting they will call the sun
to give me your light.

April 6, 2009 12:42 PM

Friday, February 19, 2010

The Consequence Of My Promise

There is a woman I have met while blogging who loves the images of stones. I will leave it to you to guess at all the ways stones are metaphors. I have found from time to time that her stones creep into my poems. I find they fit just fine.

The trouble with commitment is that you have to do it to find out if there is a blessing in it. You cannot guess. I knew this so completely on my wedding day and my stress at the risk I was taking was so high that I tried to get drunk and could not. I drank many drinks and ate psilocybin ‘shrooms. All I got was calm enough to live. Of course the night before was so drunk that I was just sick sick sick with alcohol toxicity. Stuff happened, not bad but interesting and truthful. I wound up talking with Ann’s older sister for a long time that night while we got drunk. The outcome was good for Ann, maybe not so good for Mary. Mary was difficult. I didn’t think I would survive my wedding day.

I went for years swearing I would never do a wedding ever again, not from the groom’s position. I never have. I would not be against it should something come up now. There are, of course other kinds of commitments, other promises.

The Consequence Of My Promise

When I promised love
and honor in your service
I did not know then
I would soon become
an altar upon which you
would place your true stones.

In this way I am
now more than I was as you
add to my essence.

April 6, 2009 12:23 PM

Thursday, February 18, 2010

What It Was

"We fall into a story about enlightenment - about life, in fact - and we can get trapped in it for many lifetimes. I wonder more and more how well any life really fits a story. What if our life is not this, then that, in a flat and sensible way, but is equally round like a globe, like the earth itself? Maybe our life never did lie flat on the page and read from left to right, from the fifteenth to the sixteenth of the month."
- Susan Murphy

I am a sky pilot. I am trapped in my story about other worlds. I dress them up in spiritual garb. I want to fly. I dress my story in romantic garb. The romance and the spirit is a guidance for behavior.

Behave like this, my story says. My life consists of doing what I must to make room for my story. In my story I am a poet, a musician. But really these are things I do. I did not always do them. When I was young, I resisted the music, because my parents wanted me to do it. Not until it was difficult and rebellious did I dive in. Then I quit because I started all wrong and hit a wall. The poetry is late in life, although there were pieces of it life long.

What I really am, I met God and that saved my life, but I had to decide that's really what happened. It's a story too. The carrot of meeting Him again is out there. I have some things to say. I want to say them, not here but there.

All these stories. My last girlfriend thought I was brilliant but a little tedious and not active enough by far. But that's her story. Here's another story.

What It Was

I was a happy
drunk who fell down stairs smiling
and loved to dance on
when he should lay down.

I was a careless drunk who spent
life so handicapped
that he lost normal
things to bizarre dope fed dreams.

I was the sky pilot.

I pay the old price
still, the way my life is now
echoes off bottles.

April 3, 2009 9:06 PM

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Building Harmony

I don’t know how many of you have been blessed with the love of a genuinely talented person, who really could dance, who could sing or act or otherwise produce. What happens to real intense love when it is backed by real talented art is indescribable. Or perhaps it is just me who gets round heels at that point. There is that moment in the movie, Men In Black when the heroine discovers that she is actually an extraterrestrial queen, and she cries. It rains. She learns that it rains because she cries, because she really is a queen. Love and art is like that. It is hard to know what is causing what when they are so close together. The love affair turns into a romance because it is art. Because we can do it. Because it’s right to do it. It would be wrong to leave it in the mundane world of every day when our wings make flight possible. Love as play, love as a play, is it tragedy, is it comedy? You cannot know the outcome, even when you do. That is a truth. Even when you do know what is going to happen, it doesn’t matter because you know as well that you cannot know that. And then it happens that way, and it is a complete surprise even though you can say, “I knew it would happen something like this.”

Even when it ends a tragedy, you say, “This was worth it.” Romeo and Juliet both die. Ask their shades. “It was truly worth it.” You might know that you wouldn’t try to do that again, but you know as well that if you were the person you were before and your lover appeared just like that, you would do it the first time all over again every time. You would hope for Ground Hog Day. (A Bill Murray movie reference, for those of you who don’t know.)

Building Harmony

That you sing of me
in the rain that falls around
your heart gives me hope
you will find your way
from the edge of things, tuning
up to the true tone,
building harmony
from warm voice, profound alto
notes anchoring us
both in this sweet rain
in the key of love's finest
dance and poetry.

April 3, 2009 2:29 PM

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Staying Afloat

One may fall in love but one decides to love someone. Really there is no honeymoon on the decision to love. One falls. We often will call that an infatuation. We will say it is a dream come true. That’s precisely what it is. I fall in love with you, a dream come true. I fell for my dream of course, not really for you. Within that space, I may decide to love you. Then I set about to find out who you are, who I have chosen to love. If I am unfortunate I will confuse the dream with the reality. If I am blessed, I will get to keep the fantasy and still navigate in reality. That’s where the swimming comes in. It takes great skill, no?

I just heard tonight that one of my favorite couples is divorcing. Too bad.

Staying Afloat

If I were stone still
in the moving tide of you
I would be submerged
and would have to grow
gills, so often do you rise.

But I can swim, dear,
and I do, the crawl
and the butterfly, back stroke
and side stroke and I
can tread water as
well if I must. All of these
I need loving you.

April 3, 2009 12:38 PM

Monday, February 15, 2010

Questions And Answers

Home from the corporate wars. My porch cat thinks that if he polishes my concrete I respond better. He rolls in the same spot, uses his back as a polishing rag. I figure he will wear my front walk down a bit in a couple decades at this rate. Long before that, I am sure my concrete will get a shine. He has gotten fat eating at two houses now.

Here is one way God answers prayer. Erk. Why is He so damn enigmatic?

Questions And Answers

I hear you call from
halfway across this old world
as if from my heart,
the same kinds of things
I lay in the lap of God,
demanding reply.
He does and says this,

The questions are important,
the answers are not.

April 2, 2009 3:57 PM

Sunday, February 14, 2010

The Antique Vase

I am too careless. I don’t really fit here. It is not that I am not athletic. I do all right when I am paying attention. I was okay at tennis. I played football in high school, but only because my Dad insisted that I do one season of team sport. I have a mean pong pong serve and this means the more subtle motor skills match up with intensity. So it is not that. But. I am also just terrible at fixing things of any complexity, have to hire all that sort of thing done. I hire it done with gratitude there are people to hire. I can’t pay attention long enough. I tend to spill when I eat. I can’t seem to break that, really don’t want to. So much of the physical stuff of this planet is just not what I want to pay attention to. I have a head that actually thinks it can kill my body and still survive. It wants to. It’s not that I am not erotic in the largest sense either. I know that works out for me. Still, I don’t want to attend to the world that much. I grit my teeth most days at least once, saying the traffic or the whatever is not worth it.

It is the normal everyday stuff. It is the shopping. I don’t go to shows because I hate the parking hassle. I like the shows. Every time I go I have the same reaction. The show was worth my time. The parking hassle wasn’t. Portland is not bad either. I will do without stuff easier than I put up with the hassles. It is just like that for me.

I break things like relationships in part because I never want to do anything, because I hate the hassles. Pretty sad.


So here is how this happens. I get done writing this and immediately (as I am late) go to an AA meeting where they decide to talk about expectations. I get to rant and poke fun at myself and my defiant attitudes. I’m all better now. Heh.

The Antique Vase

The vase finally
shattered. I was too careless
for you, I know this,
as if I broke you,
not the pottery, as if
I meant to do it,
as if it was an
ancient Greek treasure instead
of the garage sale
derelict we bought.

April 2, 2009 3:19 PM

Saturday, February 13, 2010

In The Hall

The stuff you do, the stuff that happens, all of that so often doesn't make sense. So many of us, I have heard this, say, "I must be here for a reason." It's an article of faith. I am not so sure that there's a reason, like some one thing I must do nobody else can do. I don't know if I can make it make sense there's a distinction, but I do think I have a destiny, a tendency to end up in a certain shape so I head out of here in the right direction. It's not what I do specifically that matters but the style, I guess, with which I do things. Character is destiny, some say. I take it even deeper.

That's sort of the view you can get from astrology too. No one comes in a blank slate. We are bent this way and that from the gate. This is my Mom aghast because she really disliked my real father and so much of my character was like him that she had to kind of like him anyway because she really loved me. He wasn't around much my whole life and still I was like him. The genes.

Destiny is like that only instead of a push from behind like inheritance it is a pull from ahead. This is a really old concept. Aristotle made this kind of pull one of the principal causes, a logical category. Science doubts this kind of reversal of time's arrow, or the presence of eternity nearby, either being the source of the pull. I am science enough to understand the argument, but poet enough to know better. What am I here for? Why did I come back? It's a matter of destiny. It is not a reason. That is simply bad science. I am not here for a reason, some specific thing I am to do.

How do we see the unseen? In Zen, they sometimes whack you. You go sit in the hall, the meditation hall and that's what you get. Sometimes. Not often.

In The Hall

You are all of that
and you tell me I am too,
flea bites and the rest.

You strike me, bamboo
slaps across my bruised up back
to drive this closer
to my aching head
while I wonder what I'm here
for, why I came back.

April 2, 2009 12:44 PM

Friday, February 12, 2010

The Unmade Bed

Huh…I tried to post and Blogger ate me alive. I will try again.

I do make the bed. I wash the dishes too. My job.

This has been a hard week. Every work week is a hard week for me any more. Then I went for a massage and chiropractic treatment. I feel mauled but good.

Tonight I miss having a lover, even though I would not really be good company.

The Unmade Bed

The way the bed looks
when you leave it on mornings
when we don't sleep in
is precious to me.

It's my job to make your bed.
We agreed to this,
as if you're the Queen
Mother and me the worker
bee buzzing around.
I am not a drone.

April 02, 2009 12:14 PM

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

It All Comes Out The Same

I am pretty happy with this one. There’s a voice here. It’s not really mine. That means, if I can do it again when I want to that I might even have a novel in me. I have always claimed I can’t do dialogue to save my life, but many of these poems are dialogue bound, headed that way. This one is especially so. That’s why I like it so much. Technique.

It All Comes Out The Same

I am not graceful
and you tell me to dance but
I'll fall on my ass,

so I says to you
that fat men can't dance so well
and you say so what
because it all comes
out the same in the end, hey.

That's what I mean, you
old fart, you just don't
notice who I really am
when you pass it on.

April 1, 2009 1:26 PM

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The Gerbils In My Head

Yes, indeed. What if they get out? C’mon…this is serious work, deep, allegorical. There is an esoteric spiritual meaning. This poem took decades to get the experience to stand on. I wrote it standing up wearing my hair shirt and cilice. I wrote it at the high desk in the ink I ground myself, writing by the light of a tallow candle flickering and sputtering. I muttered as I wrote, a kind of breathless prayer that He who left me here would support my hope. The poem I would rather have written is fathoms deep, embedded in the words of this one. See past the gerbils if you can. Or not. Heh.

The Gerbils In My Head

It was bad enough
when I had gerbils running
on the little wheel
in my caged old head
all night long but then they got
loose and are chewing
new holes in my brain
where I don't need any holes.

What if they get out?

March 31, 2009 12:37 PM

Monday, February 8, 2010

Bird Questions

I have as I am sure I have written before, a bird feeder right outside my kitchen window. It hangs under the eave, far enough down that squirrels can’t get to it, because it hangs under and that means getting back to the roof is very difficult for them. They would have to drop to the ground but there are far too many cats for squirrels to care for that very much. So they leave the seeds alone. It is much to high for cats. So I get to hang out in my kitchen with the birds, who still prefer it if I am not there at all. The “he” in this poem is a house finch or a gold finch, fat little things who have a route. My feeder is on that route.

Bird Questions

He came and asked me
what's with the glass? He sometimes
forgets it's there. It's
against nature, he
says adamant and angry, but then
he admits we are
better off inside
where we do so much less harm
than we otherwise

March 30, 2009 12:36 PM

Sunday, February 7, 2010

A Fat Icy Ride

This has to be allegorical, I don’t have a bike. There is no ice in Portland at the end of March. I wouldn’t be on a bike at this point. A few years back I got a wild hair and decided to try for a recumbent bike. They gave me the chance to test drive it. I was doing okay but then in turning I took it too sharp and then corrected. I stuck my leg down as I am used to on upright bikes to guide the turn but it didn’t work the same. My leg folded up past me into the position it takes in the jazz splits and I came straight down hard with the bike beneath me. A recumbent puts your leg out nearly straight. So with my right leg folded up under me, my left was stuck out straight and I really did do a jazz split with the bike under me. I slid, bare right ankle grinding the pavement for several feet this way. When I got up something didn’t feel right. I picked the bike up and tried to walk. My left leg folded up right out from under me. I had hyper-extended the ligaments in my left thigh, and partially tore at least one of them. That was the last time. I will not try to ride a bike again.

As a child I was one of the guys who could ride long distances, no hands, using balance to make turns.

A Fat Icy Ride

A hard ride is ice
on the bike you gave to me
though I admit it,
I am far too fat
for riding and my bike screams
for mercy with me
grinding it into
the ice just by pedaling,
by standing upright
and bearing down, and
pulling at the handlebars
when I push again.

March 29, 2009 8:50 PM

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Spring At My House

The dates are getting closer, though a year apart. Do you notice? I am nearly caught up with myself, not even two months behind now. The dates will start to get confusing, maybe. It is not yet spring but it is really close now. The trees are thinking about budding out. I am no longer writing enough poetry to replace what I use. I have posted 638 poems to this point, this being the 639th. I have 377 in place waiting, including this one. I have 53 poems stored in the not posted folder. That is 1068 poems in less than two years. If I never write another poem that is still a credible portfolio. I wrote three poems this week. I imagine that I will continue at a rate a little like that. Right now work is too much to allow taking the extra odd fifteen minutes out to write one of my nine liners. I still get around and read you guys, just don’t have the time to comment so often. :(

Spring At My House
The crocus came out
again, a weedy color splash
beneath the dogwood,
itself beginning
to stretch out above lilies
who are waking up,
and the gold finches
never left but their color
faded in winter.
The boys are growing
brighter now, bolder, louder,
calling their mates close.

March 29, 2009 8:16 PM

Friday, February 5, 2010

What The Rain Can Do

Some people don’t’ take me very seriously. I can’t help that. As an adolescent, I nearly died of it though. I was an emotional cripple, unable to grow up, desperate. I knew something was way wrong and had no idea even what question to ask. I went through changes that cost me but saved my life. Part of that process involved no longer caring that some people would sooner pick on me than bother to get to know me. I am just too strange for some. Adult society is far more civil than adolescence though, at least it is if you stay out of bars and jails, stay away from 1% bikers and related users of violence. That too has helped. I spent too long in the pressure of illness and ostracism though. I am convinced it is a message of destiny, formative for a reason, revealing a personal truth. I take these kinds of things seriously and my childhood and adolescence is first among such equals. I was isolated by illness in certain critical parts of my childhood and ostracized by some in high school, especially in the first two years. When I took up drugs it was with great relief, nothing short of salvation. The drugs saved my life in very real ways. That was also the cost.

I love the rain, still. I never complain that there is too much of it, even though I am in the temperate rains of the Pacific Northwest. I especially love the storms that approach hurricane force. Once in East Pakistan the monsoon pattern brought in a storm of sufficient force that a tornado touched down on the other side of Dhaka (then it was Dacca). This storm put joy in my heart even while it broke the young papaya tree in our back yard in half. Just before that storm broke, the clear sky overhead had turned chartreuse colored. I have never seen anything like that since. It lifted the hairs on my back and neck.

For years after I returned to the States in my twenties and early thirties I would say of myself that I would sit on the roof sipping brandy watching the monsoon storms pass nearby. I never actually did that, but I still love the image today. I also said I did the same watching the revolution. There was one. We left East Pakistan not long before the successful break with West Pak. that made East Pakistan Bangladesh. That bit of roof sitting never happened either, but what a satisfactory image this is.

What The Rain Can Do

I live so lightly
on the planet that stepping
into dreams is just
what I do. I breathe
and go somewhere else where rain
turns into mirrors
reflecting the truth,
calling me out of myself.
I become a mage.

March 29, 2009 12:20 PM

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Human Nature

Here is something that is really true. In music, sad is a bunch of things and one of them is slow. This means that anyone learning to really play actual credible music will tend to develop sad songs first. This does not mean that sad songs are simpler in general, but that up tempo adds a whole tier of difficulty in this one way: up tempo music happens too fast for the mind to guide things in any conscious way. Up tempo music requires the complete training of the body mind. This is especially true when a musician adds the lyrics and voice which will often be similar to rubbing your belly and patting your head.

There's another piece...sad is the minor keys. It is easier in the minor keys to stumble around and accidentally make music-like sounds as long as you stay in key. The rules are more rigid in the brighter major keys. Here again the structure of things favors sad music because young musicians like the grace of making mistakes that don't sound like mistakes. The sad keys are in this way easier to play. It is even easier to play in the major keys but in the minor modes.

So want to sound like you are a musician? It is much easier to play slower in the minor keys. I know this from experience. :)

Poets have the same experience. You can write a sad poem that has credibility and feels real far easier than the happy poems. Writing happy and avoiding sappy is just not that easy.

Why is this??

Human Nature

If I thought, only
me, the only one who feels
empty just like this,
it would be too hard
to live even one more day.
That's when you write me
a few short lines that
show me I am not even
remotely alone.

Have you ever thought,
wondered why it is so much
easier to write
the empty sad songs
than the brightly wrought dances?
I truly wonder.

March 29, 2009 9:18 AM

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

What I Do

Things get a little weird out my way. Here is a little story that illustrates how it is…

"Once Huangbo and another monk were on pilgrimage. They came to a wide stream, almost a river, and planted their staffs, standing on the bank silently, watching the water go by. Finally the monk hiked up the skirts of his robe and walked across, gliding on top of the water like a sailboat.
Huangbo muttered in disgust, "If I'd have known you were like this I'd have never agreed to go with you!" and he turned around and went on his own way."
- Norman Fischer

Recently time has come up, as in not enough. We know that the very fabric of space/time is expanding, that things are getting farther apart on the largest scales because this is so. It is said that no matter where in the universe you stand, if you measure things you will get the same result, that everything is moving away at the largest scales. Not only that, the farther things are away, the faster they go. Even worse, for the math and science to work, there had to be an inflation in this process, where things moved much faster, then slowed down. That happened early on. Now it appears that the rate is stable. Things farther away appear to be going faster because every location in space/time is expanding. The rate everywhere seems constant. What is behind this is what is called dark energy and it is a very large portion of all that is. The reason that things farther away are going faster is that we see these things through longer expanding space/time distances. Farther away equals more expansion equals higher apparent velocities. These velocities are so high that light is shifted toward the red. That means that a significant percentage of the speed of light is involved in the velocities of the farther objects. There are no blue shifted objects except for those within our local galactic cluster.

There are people who speak of time these days and suggest that time is speeding up. This might be related. However there are others who suggest that we are heading down a funnel of some sort and time is being compressed. Something like that. They say that 2012 is the smallest part of the throat and then time will start easing off and we will find the pressure come off us a little, maybe a lot, if we survive.

Here is another way I know to not have time. Things get a little weird out my way.

What I Do

If I had the time
I would give you such complete
love you would lift off
the ground just amazed
at the lightness in the air
and the glow of me
as I hold you up.
But I don't have any time
nor any money,
nor do I have breath
since I smoke so much, and drink
and get thrown in jail.

March 28, 2009 2:21 PM

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Finding Comfort, Finding Salvation

Adam Zagajewski...I never heard of him but ran across this quote. In this quote he refers to the writing of one of the French existentialists who said, "Hell is other people" in one of his works. I quick perusal of Google, Zagajewski is an internationally renowned Polish poet. I didn't have time with my slow Slow SLOW system to learn more tonight.

We find comfort only in
another beauty, in others'
music, in the poetry of others.
Salvation lies with others,
though solitude may taste like
opium. Other people aren't hell
if you glimpse them at dawn, when
their brows are clean, rinsed by dreams.
- Adam Zagajewski

The way he puts it, that's the reason I am not a monk. I see you guys this way too. I know this life makes it hard in precisely the sense that I wrote the other is hard to remember your original intention when the alligators start biting. I have that challenge every day in my project work in corporate-land. But it is a general lesson. Here is the basic form. You have to catch us all in the special moments, the brief ones, to see the holy beauty without confusion.

Most of the spiritual walks on the planet ultimately demand community even when they claim that the highest path requires relinquishment in the end. I won't argue all that, just want to wish you all, "May you be rinsed clean by your dreams, over and over again."

Monday, February 1, 2010

The Evergreen

This poem is about a tall evergreen that grows on the property line, probably more my tree than my neighbors'. His house is just about minimum distance to the line as is my garage. This line is defined in the front and side by a fence buried in ivy and overgrown with a stand of bamboo. Then toward the back, this tree towers over everything nearby. It has dropped branches occasionally, sometimes on my neighbor’s house and once in the yard between us, more or less on the bamboo. So far it has not dropped a branch to my side. This may be because I am to the southwest of the tree, the side that gets more sun. Perhaps this extra light makes healthier branches.

Oh yes. I did dump the next poem as I said I might. This is the one after.

The Evergreen

I fret. The tree is
too close and it has twice now
dropped branches safely.

Someday it will drop
a dark arrow through my roof.
I can cut it down,
save my property,
but that squarely puts the dart
deep into my heart.

You told me real
fearlessness is the product
of a tender heart.

March 27, 2009 12:37 PM

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