Sunday, June 27, 2010

Lemon Cupcakes

Perhaps this offer of magic gems is overkill. Hmm. But you have no idea how GOOD those cupcakes really are, how good a cook she really is, how much I like lemon!

And besides, I might have ulterior motives…

I guess that’s obvious.

Lemon Cupcakes

If you gave me one
lemon and white chocolate
filled cupcake, meringue
topped, I would follow
stone trails that I know, searching
here, there for topaz,
also emeralds
to string up, make necklaces
I'd leave at your door,
leave them at midnight.

June 11, 2009 4:08 PM

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Contemplating Slugs

One of the most important offerings of real science is the shift in perspective that allows a person to break free in the most radical way from a persistent and pernicious plague in human thinking. This is the illusion of central position. We as a species are not in a special location like that, not when you add in the real science. For example, measured in biomass, by far and away the most successful life on the planet is single celled. It is the oldest and still the most prevalent. We can rarely see it but science has revealed it. In fact, it is in us in critical ways and also in cells like we have in critical ways. The mitochondria are symbionts so deeply involved in us that they have been part of the cells that make us longer than we have been human by far. There is a separate line of descent too. The mitochondrial DNA is separate from cellular DNA. Cellular DNA traces both the paternal and maternal lines. Mitochondrial DNA is exclusively maternal. There are no mitochondria in sperm, but mitochondria are part of the egg.

In fact one writer has pointed out that it makes more than equal biological sense to turn this thing on its head and assert that more complex life forms are the single celled community’s experiment in creating ever larger biological environments for their use. We are farms for the care and feeding of bacteria, viri, and fungi.

It is difficult after really grasping that point to hold so strongly to the crown of creation theory. The level of complexity of the single celled creatures is already beyond easy comprehension. The order of magnitude in difference is not between humans and mammals or mammals and eukaryotes. The order of magnitude is life and non life. Even there, the actual dividing line has been fuzzed out and it is difficult to figure out where in the biochemistry life starts.

There is something though. The Buddhists assert it is a privileged position in relation to spiritual topology. For some reason life exists. It is not hard to suspect a divine spark and nothing in science denies it. Science merely challenges the data trying to see how far back in the chain of consequence you can go without being forced into the divinity game. This discipline of mind has been very successful. However, there is no reason to leap to the claim that there is no need for the divine, just that we can explain ever more data as chains of consequences. If that was all there is to God, then maybe it is game over but there are other directions, other needs than explaining how the world works.

But we humans, no longer the crown of creation, are privileged as a matter of position in another way. We are oddly close to divinity in more than one way, not only because of the divine spark at the heart of life but as well in terms of the availability of a path nearby our neck of the woods. This is a feature of the journey, which not only we are on but also the one celled and all others. If these paths appear elsewhere it does not appear that any creature before us has availed himself of it. So the Buddhists think it likely that there are few of these paths, maybe only one, the one near us. It is suggested that we exercise our privilege, but it is not necessary. The special path seems to be a shortening of the journey but the journey will take us there anyway. Hmm. This is quite far from some ways of thinking about such things. It is however not incompatible with science, just that thinking like this lies in areas in which science can have no opinion. Some of the other religious explanations unfortunately conflict more or less directly with science. This is no longer sane. Science has been way too successful to be ignored. There will never more be a time when the knowledge base which supports technology can be denied.

The complexity of a slug is different from mine but it is not less than mine. Period.

Contemplating Slugs

The point is how this
simple creature is so far
ahead in some ways,
as if two creatures in one,
that it is too hard
for me to sit here
any more like I'm the top
of the pyramid.

June 11, 2009 12:37 PM

Friday, June 25, 2010

She Is Right There

My last girlfriend resembles this woman, though it is not she who inhabits tonight’s posted poem. What I mean is that she was entirely healthy in the area of support and leading by suggestion. She was not at all deceptive about it. She would gift you. Then she would push you to use the gift. The gift by the way was nearly always spot on. I not only had the experiences, I watched as she worked this way with others. Her children have benefited in big ways. Her youngest is taking an advanced degree at the London School of Economics, a degree in Environmental Policy and Regulation. Wow. She has sponsored at considerable lengths, two Mexican brothers, the younger in Canada is studying to be an operatic singer in the music program at the University of British Columbia. The elder brother is studying engineering in a university in Mexico. Both are primarily funded by her and by her complex planning to use other people’s money. She chose to adopt the younger brother who is with her in Canada several years ago as part of this work.

She did shit like this with me. I was irritated, a little, but really I was amazed and proud of her.

She Is Right There

Open your eyes she's said
to me, so many times, said
so insistently
and I honestly
try, believe she is right there
sitting in the front
row as if naked
with this intent grinning face
staring up at me.

I love this woman.

June 11, 2009 9:18 AM

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Looking For Your Place

This is a North American poem, not a European poem. Thus the place of horses is very fresh three hundred years ago. Horses appear to have started in the new world. They died out somehow on the way to modern horses, but not before emigrating to Asia and Europe. After a very long time, Europeans returned them to the new world. The first nations of the plains found horses a blessing from God and the buffalo.

Looking For Your Place

I sit at my desk
watching you bareback your horse
as if born to it
three hundred years past
your time on the grassy plains
with mountains westward,
peaked with summer snow
and you looking for
your place in that time.

June 10, 2009 12:43 PM

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

I Don't Need An Answer

Imagine. I wake up in the middle of the night on a camping trip and my lover is gone. I know better than to go looking but I do become conscious in my waiting for her to return. It is not the few minutes of a potty run, longer than that by far, and then she returns quietly, as if to not disturb my sleep. She is naked. I know she has gone to worship beneath the full moon, like David before the temple. She slips in and bathes my back with the cool of the night air on her body.

This did not actually happen, but I know at least two women who might have given me this experience had I been their lover and had we gone camping.

I Don't Need An Answer

Gone too long for pee,
also the cool of you soothes
my back as you spoon
me. I know you go
to the moon, gain energy
from light on this full
moon night, don't need to
ask too much from you to know
you dance dance dance, love.

June 10, 2009 12:29 PM

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


In some kind of weird way this is how I feel about being here on the planet, as if I have forgotten something. It is indeed all so odd now.


I don't remember
the way you touched my cheek, mouth
and held me just so
beneath the soughing
pines in the dim light found there.
I do remember
that you did touch me
just not how and not what came
of it, nor of me.

It's all so odd now.

June 9, 2009 11:32 PM

Monday, June 21, 2010

Truly Ripe

One of the key lessons in AA is humility. Something miraculous happens. It happens often. I get to participate. It is my privilege. It is not my right, nor have I earned it, even though I am a good man and have been so. It is a grace note that I can offer if I offer anything. I neither write the theme nor am I more than one of the many voices in the choir. I now speak with some authority because I have 27 years of experience and it is not the same year of experience 27 times either. The authority is not mine. It belongs to the experience, the genuine experience of sobriety both in and out of AA, in the world, in the market place, in the relationships.

I have been on the blogs close to two years now. I have some experience here too. Lately I notice that my old friends are fading away. I am not complaining. This is natural. I know of this from AA too. Every human group has a rhythm and a life, a coming and going. There is no reason to stay when it is time to go. Some women had old tired relationships and are now in fresh ones. They have changed their intensity of participation. Others have other changes. It is time. What one does if one wants to change the fading away, one seeks out new friends. But here’s the deal over on this side of the wall. I am short of energy too. I don’t have it in me to do the extra stuff, even the normal visits to my old friends is too much now. I just barely make it through the week when I am working, but I notice it doesn’t make much difference when I am not working either. I am just to the point where I have to manage what energy I do have.

I know that people visit even when they do not post a comment. The counters prove that, not only that people visit but that they visit from everywhere. Now as I publish I am more like a print poet. I don’t know who it is who visits anymore. Do I need adulation or even kindness from my readers? No. These are not really my poems anyway. They come so quickly with so little effort that they cannot really be mine. I have written poetry my whole adult life. These haiku framed poems are not like my other poetry, not how I wrote, at least not how it felt to write before and in many ways not even the subjects I used to write about. The poetry is not really mine. The voice however, is.

Truly Ripe

Of course, go home, love.
Another fire night will come
in time, a long time
perhaps and yet songs
will still be sung to the moon
by someone truly
ready, truly ripe,
and you if not yet ready,
are still on the path.

June 9, 2009 7:20 AM

Sunday, June 20, 2010

One Set Of Footprints

This poem speaks for itself. I bow in honor of the words.

One Set Of Footprints

The one who found love's
lightness of being also
learned to levitate
in her new found joy.

The other, whose heart knew God,
willingly let her
rise up above him
holding only her ribbon
to keep her tethered.

June 8, 2009 12:32 PM

Saturday, June 19, 2010

At My Desk

I wonder how to describe it. I have no idea, really. When I try to say it, it comes out wrong and sounds like I am whining and self centered. I try for the poetry and sometimes I think it works. I try for the stories but if I told you I really believed the plots and the characters then you would declare me crazy and lost in fantasy and you would be right. This poem sits in the middle of it and tells no stories. I sit at my desk, I write this stuff. I dream of a home that cannot be found anywhere nearby. This sky’s shade ignores my fate. The shade of the world could not care less. The shades of my lost loves fade and depart without a word.

At My Desk

Where I sit the sky
appears in a slit between
the slats of curtains
on the shut window
just above my head, and just
above the neighbor's
garage roof. Now gray,
but sometimes bluer
than my thoughts might be, this sky's
shade ignores my fate.

June 7, 2009 7:54 PM

Friday, June 18, 2010

A Singular Eider

It is odd that this poem offers well oiled feathers. I of course mean the oil that comes from the glands that the waterfowl use to preen and waterproof their feathers. I do not mean the plumes of ancient hydrocarbons found floating in the ocean after an accident releases them. I do not mean the reservior under pressure in old rocks. I do not mean the oil in old rocks as they are turned under to cook and turn huge deposits of biomass into hydrocarbon soup and sludge where once the biosphere lived. I do not mean that kind of oil at all.

A Singular Eider

Floating in twilight,
well oiled feathers hold me up
though my heart still sinks.

Are there words to say?

A solitary ocean
replies, gives solace.

June 7, 2009 11:24 AM

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Not Like All The Rest

This poem reads at this point with two equally possible second verses. How can I be honest might be a completely sincere and honest question, wanting very much to be honest, looking for the way. How can I be honest might be the question of a man with a secret that shames him in the clean light of the moment, a special moment calling for more than he is. I love the ambiguity. It is a deep thing.

Not Like All The Rest

Awareness cuts fine,
too fine for words. In the cracks
between them, your eyes
see me in the now
of things, in the now of worlds
beyond the current
path we walk holding
hands and wanting more of this.

How can I then speak
to you honestly
and with clarity this time
not like all the rest?

June 7, 2009 11:08 AM

If Hope Told Me

I apologize for the delay. There was too much traffic or something last night. It was still slow this morning. Maybe my computer is in trouble.

I thought of several things, like quests and writers and like the Ring trilogy and old loves and forests and sunshine and loss.

Grief is a strange thing. I think people fear grief as much as anything. Grief feels timeless and that means it feels like forever. At the same time it feels unreal, or like it ought to be unreal. Grief won’t go away but it sneaks into crannies, waiting for you to pass by. Then it pounces, like a cat, driving you down, and like a tiger will, it grabs you by the throat and then won’t let go until the life gasps out of you.

None of this is really the way things are but it is how grief feels. By the time you get old, all the griefs of life add up, or they can. A sad song can release a grief chain. Or if someone you love dies, then all the other deaths are remembered. Simon and Garfunkel singing The Boxer does this to me. The other day the Beatles singing Here Comes The Sun got me. That was the song at the end of our wedding ceremony. Judy Collins sang McCartney’s In My Life as our intro. I’m a little thick right now just bringing this up.

The reality of grief is of course that it is survivable. The solution is to in some sense welcome it and open wider, allow it to pass through as freely as possible instead of to resist it. It feels timeless but is not timeless.

If Hope Told Me
I went to the glade
where we found the golden ring,
where I last saw you
before the change came up,
before this new severance
came upon us here.

I would go to all
lengths I know, and seek new ones,
go there too if hope
would tell me to go,
if I could find you, lead you
back to what we had.

June 7, 2009 10:51 AM

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


Here is enigma. Here is a story, a triptych, or with the poem, a quaternity. There is more to this story. I shall not tell it. Tell it to yourself.


A whole life is here
in three pictures, one poem,
a song on the path
to summer's long light,
a promenade, expectant,
a mother and son,
and the others who
take the son further than this
vibrant holy night.

June 7, 2009 10:33 AM

Monday, June 14, 2010

Blurred Edges

The north end of the Willamette valley in June is odd. We all expect more sunshine than we actually get.

Blurred Edges

The weather just sucks,
it's in the way of us now,
all fog and dank wind
washing edges out
of sight, we blur and fade out,
cannot meet in this

I wish August
heat and you in bright colors,
willing to come near.

June 7, 2009 9:31 AM

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Waiting For The Blue Moon

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I have had the experience of a clandestine love affair, in which the dominant experience was waiting. That gave me plenty of time to write many poems. I honed my mature poetic voice. The poems became integral to the seduction of us both as I wove a multitude of spells. The spells were aimed at turning a long shot into a transformed reality. That casting of spells did not work permanently but it did double our time together, extending the affair by at least a year. Our two years together was successful in the way that it started, assisting her in a life transition from unhappy marriage with complications to a divorce which did not hurt the children specifically by her behavior in the ending of the marriage. We remained discreet enough and were never found out in circles that would have hurt her at home. She also went to therapy and I supported that. She started with me as an offshoot of an assignment she was given in therapy. She changed therapists to one she told about me and he at least did not object too much. I believe he sensed I was careful and eyes wide open enough. I believe he knew about me from another of his clients as well and so understood me a little.

I would do it again with her, coming at it from the place that I was at the time. I would not do it for a second time with someone else. I have no idea if she asked for my return what I would do now. There is a real argument against it. My heart still argues for it but with a sense of doom in the argument.

I wonder how common it is for someone to see sense in returning to former lovers.

I think I have posted before on the Blue Moon, which is involved with the quarterly seasons rather than the actual months. Google it. There really is a Blue Moon, and there are others with other names too. I forget exactly, but I could Google it too as I did the first time I wanted to know.

Waiting For The Blue Moon

I waited for you
to come to me at the blue
moon, planning, dreaming,
hoping for true love
once in a blue moon with you,
with the blue presence
of your eyes, your eyes,
and your truest words of grace
and your feather touch.

June 6, 2009 4:52 PM

Saturday, June 12, 2010

I've Given My Music

When I fall in love with you I let you in. You get to dance on my head. I will not complain. I will let you take the lead, though I will keep my bounds. My last lover talked me into doing things musical and otherwise that I never would do on my own. Ultimately she took that as a bad sign, as a sign I would change under long term conditions and refuse to do the things I did while we were just partners. She never did get it that I was already married to her in my heart. She flat refused to believe that. Maybe she was right. I see her regularly as she travels down to tend her property here (she lives as a Canadian now) and still feel that way. Nothing fundamental has changed for me in our relationship though we are no longer together. I worked hard for that to be okay.

She got me to speak in church on the topic of women. I was one of three men she chose to do this. I spoke about my mother who simply is the most remarkable woman I have ever known, who graduated Phi Beta Kappa and Sigma Cum Laude while being a single mom in the late forties. She was valedictorian at Cal Berkeley and shared the stage with Harry Truman because Cal was an amazing school in those years with the returning WWII boys. She turned down a career in the movies in order to go to school and then she became a high school teacher. At mid life she wrote a novel. Then she became a Unity minister. She wrote two more books of a spiritual nature. Finally she retired as a minister emeritus and received accolades from Unity for her lifetime service. I won’t go into that, except to say that she changed some fundamental stuff in her time there.

My last lover also got me to solo on a Judy Collins number. I would never have done either of these things without her suggestion.

I've Given My Music

You stand on my head,
then dance a bit. I don't dare
complain. You have me
where you've wanted me
for longer than this springtime,
longer than its moon.
In fact I've given
my music into your care,
no way but forward.

June 5, 2009 1:08 PM

Friday, June 11, 2010

Staying Open

It is many years now, a long time past the moment I realized the essential honesty of the spiritual walk. For many years I misconstrued sincerity for honesty. I mean I genuinely didn’t know the difference in some essential way, could not have told you I was dishonest but also would not have been forthright at all in certain areas, believing all the time that it just wasn’t your business.

I have written here before in other contexts of the work I did with my partner who was a licensed clinical psychologist. For several years we ran a group therapy in the late seventies as a team, partly as a seminar in astrology, and partly as exploratory therapeutics, delineating astrology and what it might mean in this context as well as what the experience of seeing one’s life through this template could mean. My partner was enthused, saying he got to places using astrology that he could never go without it in the group setting. Oddly, when it was his turn or mine in the “hot seat”, things didn’t go as well. For me things would often get really strange and I was all the time struggling to find a way to communicate so that the group members would not be so aggressive with me and me so defensive. All this time later I can know and have known for my entire sobriety that while I was totally sincere, I was less than honest with them.

I did not know then. I sort of knew. Here is mainly what stopped me. I would have had to talk about my drinking openly in order to open myself more with them, and my drinking, I was sure was none of their business. That was right too. They were not the people to entrust that issue with. Without that, however, I could not go to the levels they needed me to go. I had to dodge and deflect into the astrology too much and too little of me was there. They were of course simply trying to do with me what I was doing with them. Real work got done in many of our meetings, but seldom with either my partner or me. We took our turns in the hot seat in the spirit of the group. I did not pretend in any way, did not claim I did not drink, but my sharing about that sort of stuff stopped with my earlier drug use. I was completely open about that, but I would never have said how I would be going home and getting drunk before going to sleep, especially on group meeting nights. Hammer down. Need to get to sleep…

Staying Open

It's everything
I must learn, my entire life-
no good can come from
ducking this great task.
Then I will simply repeat this life
in some other form.

That's what my love said to me.
I agreed. Then I muttered,

It cuts deeper too.
How about this misery?
Depression, anguish?
This uneasiness?
I do not know the changes
these work inside me.

June 5, 2009 12:45 PM

Thursday, June 10, 2010

For David

First, I apologize for not leaving some sort of note. I have a recurring illness I call allergies. It involves my right upper sinus but it dries me out so the discharge is thin and watery and chokes me badly. My right ear gets involved and fills up giving me vertigo as well. My left eye leaks tears more or less all the time, and my cough comes in spasms that are so severe that I am driven very close to unconsciousness. That is very dangerous on the road. So I quit doing anything except trying to sleep it out. I am a little better now. The sinus part is a long term consequence of a period of chronic infection. For years I was getting sinus bacterial infections periodically. I had an MRI and proved that I had a bit of an extra lip height naturally on that side that helped lock in drainage. The bacteria are now gone and have been for years but either the virus or the allergens have replaced them. I get this two or three times a year.

Getting old is not for sissies.

A few of you got worried and I am touched with your concern. I will try to remember to do something in the future. When I took one day off (I thought) I woke up so much worse the next day I couldn't get back.

Today is the 75th anniversary of the start of AA, June 10, 1935. That was the day that Bill Wilson had his first meaningful talk with Dr. Bob Smith, the talk that gave Dr. Bob his start in sobriety and led to them talking in due time with Bill D., helping him start his own sobriety and starting AA. What they figured out, they had to pass it on. They had to give sobriety away to keep it. It is still the formal AA opinion that absolutely nothing insures sobriety as much as work with other alcoholics - not that you have to succeed but that you engage in the work. AA calls that 12th step work and declares that a 12th step is successful not if the other guy stays sober but if you do. That's a relief. Most 12th steps are failures by any other measure.

This poem is about David Carradine.

For David

I was small when you
came into my house with your
calm face, slow movements,
your plain clothes and truth
in the midst of confusion
and outright evil.

Now you've hung yourself
in a closet. I never
expected that, nor
dreamed your mastery
would fall so far short of need,
nor of you just gone.

June 4, 2009 12:39 PM

Thursday, June 3, 2010


It is hard to raise children, I think, and choose to keep the wings. We may wish with all our might but we are apes, not birds. We need to raise small apes and not confuse them with the possibilities of mythical flight. That comes in other ways. There are other things like that. The Hindus teach a threefold life stage, the first a stage of training for the second, the stage where one gives back and assists in the life of the community, while as well raising the next generation, all part of that, and the third when one sheds all responsibility as best one can, divests of all possession and begins the preparation for death and a good rebirth. These are each twenty-eight year cycles, roughly the cycle of Saturn and the Moon as progressed in a day for a year.

The point of the cycles is not so much to time things as to reveal that there really is a context to things and that one may have a duty to fulfill. Since this life is genuine, I cannot doubt the necessity of things. I mean I take the idea of life’s illusory nature seriously, but that raising children, for example is no illusion. I come in with a destiny to fulfill right here smack in the middle of illusory things. This destiny too is no illusion. If I am locked in right now, it may mean I am rightly placed in my own destiny, however constricted I feel.

I have learned that my feelings may not be the best way to measure my life. This is awkward because I am positive that my best thinking is not a good guide either. After all, my best thinking has driven me into desperation more than once. If my feelings are chancy guides and my best thinking leads me to disaster, how shall I guide my life? That’s a good question to sit with. I don’t think trying to answer it is very useful. I of course will make the best decisions I can using my feelings and my thinking, perhaps with vision and intuition, and perhaps with guidance from trusted advisors and the Divine, that’s really all I can do.


Landlocked by my life,
I recall you and those days
when all was open,
grand truths flying high
above a fertile country.

We had the view then,
the full scope of things,
but that was before we chose
to settle down like this.

Jun 4, 2009 12:13 PM

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Cost Of The Work

I have always had a problem with how much work things take. There is always something wrong, some demand, some contortion, some party line that is beyond my capacity. This is not true only when I am in some kind of fascination. If I am fascinated, then things are worth the effort because the effort is “effortless”. I was never able to just take a college course. I had to want it. It was amazing that I passed those required courses in the first two years even with “C’s”. When I left school behind, I had bits and pieces of several majors because I was only taking courses I could get “B’s” and “A’s” in. Even so, I could never take a full load: 12 credits max, never 15 or more. I often would only take one course in a term because there were no more available that I could stand.

When I finally got my career job I was incredibly fortunate or else it was designed by the Divine to suit me. I almost didn’t qualify. I knew it at the start. I worked really hard, trying to make the grade and almost didn’t. My six month review hinged on changes that occurred in the last two or three weeks. I made it and have held the same kind of job over thirty years. There is something about it that overcomes the malady that I suffer in most areas of my life. I really have to reach down deep inside to even vacuum floors, unless there is some compelling reason.

There’s a reason that some of us are alcoholic. This sort of thing is mine. The world just costs too freaking much.

The Cost Of The Work

After raising moons
I drink gallons to replace
the fluid that steams
from me, rising up
to then coalesce, become
overhead tidal
objects with craters,
more than one moon any time,
otherwise too much
work is in this dance.

June 3, 2009 12:48 PM

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The Wind Of Your Truth

Most of my life is not involved in lessons. Most of my life is a process of tempering, or tumbling like a rock hound tumbles rocks on the way to polishing. The lessons are basic and not that hard but learning them over and over is what happens to me, knocking off the rougher edges as I go. Lovers temper me. Friends temper me. God tempers me. I change as I have written in some of my other posts from pig iron to tempered steel.

My time right now suspiciously feels as if I am about to be tempered again.

The Wind Of Your Truth

The wind of your truth
pushes against me, testing
my balance among
this grove of ancient
trees. Listen to the soughing
of the upper limbs
as the far dim sun
slowly wakes this day and me
thawing out beneath.

June 2, 2009 9:49 AM

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