Monday, January 31, 2011

Heart Moon

Ayers Rock - Uluru

Ayers Rock is also known by its Aboriginal name 'Uluru'. It is a sacred part of Aboriginal creation mythology, or dreamtime - reality being a dream. Uluru is considered one of the great wonders of the world and one of Australia's most recognizable natural icons. Uluru is a large magnetic mound large not unlike Silbury Hill in England. It is located on a major planetary grid point much like the Great Pyramid in Egypt.

Uluru is a large sandstone rock formation in central Australia, in the Northern Territory. It is located in Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, 350 km southwest of Alice Springs at 25 degrees 20' 41" S 131 degrees 01' 57" E. It is the second-largest monolith in the world (after Mount Augustus, also in Australia), more than 318 m (986 ft) high and 8 km (5 miles) around. It also extends 2.5 km (1.5 miles) into the ground. It was described by explorer Ernest Giles in 1872 as "the remarkable pebble".'

Uluru is an inselberg, literally "island mountain", an isolated remnant left after the slow erosion of an original mountain range. Uluru is also often referred to as a monolith, although this is a somewhat ambiguous term because of its multiple meanings, and thus a word generally avoided by geologists. The remarkable feature of Uluru is its homogeneity and lack of jointing and parting at bedding surfaces, leading to the lack of development of scree slopes and soil. These characteristics led to its survival, while the surrounding rocks were eroded. For the purpose of mapping and describing the geological history of the area, geologists refer to the rock strata making up Uluru as the Mutitjulu Arkose, and it is one of many sedimentary formations filling the Amadeus Basin.

I love this poem. Stray dreams, stray thoughts that rattle. More than one coyote. It is daylight and yet the moon rises.

Heart Moon

Like rooms in a house,
I walk through gray tender thoughts
Of my long chased dreams.

Under the porch lie the strays
That rattle like angry snakes.

In my daylight hills
God moves, and coyotes move too.
My heart moon rises.

written October 10, 2008 8:20 AM
last posted, March 21, 2009
this time I added Ayers Rock and its moon rise

Sunday, January 30, 2011

My Strange Presence, The Crane's Eye - Reprise

This post was first published March 1, 2009.

The artist called himself Werewombat and was apparently English but is now absent from the web as linked to this photo.

Yaquina Bay Bridge looking south near sunset.

Birds figure high with me. Small warm blooded dinosaur descendants (lately we feel many dinosaurs developed warm blood metabolisms), already around when the dinos fell, along with crocs and gators and a few smallish and one or two larger type lizards, and with the turtles and tortoises, they survived whatever that was.

The eyes of birds are direct windows into ancient life for me. I love that I feed the wild ones, mainly a few varieties of finches. I especially loved being very close to a yearling bald eagle one time. That yearling gave us the eye as we floated along in a canoe beneath the tree that held him/her. Here are two bird poems that both came during the morning of Dec. 19, 2008.

This first one is about ocean shore birds. Have you ever been on the beach of a morning when the fog isn't really fog but is still there, thin enough the sun shines through and gives a bronze cast to things? I used to live on the Oregon coast in the town of Newport, got married there back in 1975. We lived in a house in Nye Beach and were a block from the cliff that gave access to the beach, beside the Hotel Gilmore, a flop house and dope house in those days. Years later, that became an upscale bed and breakfast called the Sylvia Beach Hotel, with rooms that took literary names and decor, like the Charles Dickens room, for example. You could walk down the cliff face on a path and stroll the beach for a long distance, and some days were magic.

My Strange Presence

In the haze, gold eye
Shines with its own fuzzy light
Giving gulls the high
Signal, permission
To enter the game, gamble
On my strange presence
As I stand beneath
The flock of them approaching
The shore where they live.


I love it when I can write one long sentence and have it make sense all the way like that. I tell you three times.

Here is another, a doubled haiku, two of everything. Death on my shoulder. In the Chinese mythology a crane is a singular blessing. One of my favorite lines in I Ching speaks to this crane, and how she sings to her young, how she possesses a goblet and is willing to share. I have from the beginning, when I first read that line, felt the love that comes with that goblet. My grave but me not in it. A crane's caress. Contact and communication. How can I not be blessed?

Whooping Crane

The Crane's Eye

A crane high steps on
My grave - I can tell
Because my flesh feels her feet.
I look straight at her. She gives
Me the eye and nods.
Then she steps away.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Curvature Of Nature - Reprise

"The cause of all our personal problems and nearly all the problems of the world can be summed up in a single sentence: Human life is very deep, and our modern dominant lifestyle is not." - Bo Lozoff

Bo Lozoff started the Prison Ashram Project with Ram Dass in 1973, which has grown into the largest interfaith prison ministry in the world. Bo’s book, We’re All Doing Time, now in its 17th printing, is widely referred to as “the convicts’ bible” and was named by Village Voice as “one of the ten books everyone in the world should read.”

For over 30 years Bo has traveled around the world giving talks in thousands of prisons, churches, and community centers. His many roles include author, spiritual teacher, friend, counselor, musician, and modern day mystic.

For more information on the work of Bo, his wife Sita, and the Human Kindness Foundation, please visit

Here's a real lesson, I believe. Manifest reality works in ragged lines, often curved, never perfect. Human brains like straight lines, instinctively know that they are the shortest distances, and without sophistication will expect the flatness they see to the horizon is the truth of things.

Humans want things in the world to work just like brains do. And they do, sort of, once you get past the illusions. But humans like to hang out and fool around and not take so much responsibility too if they can. In these matters they don't have time between getting food, fighting and fucking. Raising kids just like them. And all the other things they get involved in. They don't have time to see clear, would rather see straight because it is so much easier. Besides, it's close enough for government. You get a C on the test, you pass, even though the price may be high, but you can't have an omelet without breaking eggs, now can you? Often humans hate other humans who see better and will persecute them. We all know the usual examples of that.

Especially in America, we like technology but not the nerds and geeks who produce it, like science but deeply distrust scientists who might be able to tell us how to live safely on the planet, and now we are paying the price as China and India grow better scientists than we have.

I like poetry. I think poetry is very often reminiscent of the true short lines of nature, the ones that curve all over the place and take us home more certainly than those God damned straight jacket lines of the people who think they need to run things.

The Curvature Of Nature

The best lines nature
offers are curved and crooked
like the veins in leaves,
and in our bodies,
like the paths that rivers take.
Why then should we think
that good lives are straight,
that good men should be upright,
I be an arrow?

February 20, 2009 8:09 AM

The Curvature of Nature first posted on Friday, October 23, 2009
I have added the photos and Bo Lozoff as new elements.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Taking Winged Shape - Reprise


I want to be angelic. Here is a really good reason. I am nearly 100% certain that angel relationships are so much simpler. Sometimes the negotiations of relationship make me really tired. I know why at least some of us fail at relationships. We just get too tired. It shouldn’t be this hard, what my bones and sinews say. Music gives me the same trouble. It just shouldn’t be that hard to master the whole thing. Calculus, I couldn’t even start, even though I am supposed to be really smart, but calculus scared the shit out of me. I want to be angelic because I sense they don’t even have to try. I really, really want to not have to try.

I think I have heard this, that I am not making it up. Angels are complete and perfect creatures, limited in only one direction. They only possess a smidgen of free will, not the main meal that is ours but just a dash, a splash of it, like a good spice. Enough to make rebellion possible, but so rare that only a few have tried it and only one mustered enough to fall into rebellion completely and take some of the others with him.

Man on the other hand is required by his nature to rebel.

God loves Man best. Sometimes angels find that difficult, knowing that. It is said that is why Lucifer fell. God's love for man may be merciful but is not just from the angelic point of view. Lucifer fell for justice.

But Man’s work is the thing. It is so fucking hard.

Taking Winged Shape

That I should want this
thing with more than I ever
could gather from hills,
the grassy long sweep
of wind washed blades and flowers,
white starred stalks among
the green green old hills
of the far planet behind
my flight. That I should
want so much from this
sky into which I now go,
why I learned to fly.

March 9, 2009 1:41 PM

A Guardian Angel

First posted (without the angelic images)
Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Thursday, January 27, 2011

On Retreat

Artist: m-rx

On Retreat

When I sit beside
you and can settle into
the reverie you
offer all of us
I marvel at how the world
just changes color.

So I offered to
snap your picture, capture truths,
maybe your soul's shape
peeking out your eyes,
and you said you would not shave
so I could not steal
your soul, guarded so
by stubble, and you would not
look direct at me.

written January 27, 2011 8:48 PM
written for Big Tent Poetry
go there, read many poems.

To explain...the Taoists assert the most enlightened among us will resist being held back as they take their journey into the mountains. Though they command the very winds at times, they will never look like the masters they are, unless, awake, you see with a deep spiritual sight. This man looks holy to me. I hope he does to you.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

In The Garage - Three Word Wednesday

That's a famous portrait of the young May Sarton with an elder May sitting beneath.

"Everything that slows us down and forces patience, everything that sets us back into the slow circles of nature, is a help. Gardening is an instrument of grace." - May Sarton

May Sarton is the pen name of Eleanore Marie Sarton (3 May 1912 – 16 July 1995), an American poet, novelist, and memoirist. Born in Belgium, she died of breast cancer and is buried in Nelson, New Hampshire.

May wrote over fifteen books of poetry, over twenty novels, and over ten non-fiction works, principally memoirs.

Three Word Wednesday has assigned the following words and said, "Do something!" I thought of how terrible I am at building stuff even though I am a designer for industry and here is the result.

conniption; noun: a bad tantrum. One has a conniption or conniption fit.

janky; adjective: broken or functioning poorly or improperly; messed up.

scooch; verb: to move over, or to scoot.

In The Garage

No matter how I try
It's all janky now.
Design by conniption don't
work at all. I pound
those nails, pound them down
with Goddam all attitude
and all I get is
itchy butt, forces
me to scooch across the floor
like some little dogs
I know.

Written January 26, 2011 7:50 PM

Postscript: I wish I had more time to tarry and read. Perhaps tomorrow. I am fresh back to work and am buried under production pressure, putting the design package together to install a new laminator and infeed conveyors to lay down dough for the Nabisco Premium cracker baking line.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Not Yet Ready - Reprise

Spirituality can be severed from both vicious sectarianism and thoughtless banalities. Spirituality, I have come to see, is nothing less than the thoughtful love of life. [Spirituality for the Skeptic] - Robert C. Solomon

Wiki says, Robert C. Solomon (September 14, 1942 – January 2, 2007) was a professor of continental philosophy at the University of Texas at Austin in the USA. His interests were in 19th-century German philosophy—especially Hegel and Nietzsche—and 20th-century Continental philosophy—especially Sartre and phenomenology, as well as ethics and the philosophy of emotions. Solomon published more than 40 books on philosophy, and was also a published songwriter.

Even though I age, I am not done yet. I lean into this, not because I believe I am younger than I am, nor that I am so healthy, nor that I am still strong, but that the job is not done. I am still doing my job, following my call, doing my part. This is heart talk, soul talk. I say this tonight because it is true tonight. On other days, and maybe tomorrow morning after struggling as I do to get out the door and go to work (because even putting on socks as I am required to do as part of the work uniform is a fucking chore! and really hurts and I don't want to any more!) I will frankly say if God took me this day it would be okay. And it is. But I know I am not done yet.

This poem first posted on March 28, 2009

Not Yet Ready

Sometimes I look at
The wide blue sky and feel my
Toes curl, grow long claws.
I know I must sink
My claws into the prairie earth
So deep, lock so tight
That this whirling world
Will not throw me off headlong
Into some unplanned
Future. My soul knows me well.
I am not ready to go.

Written December 17, 2008 9:41 AM

Monday, January 24, 2011

Writer's Block - Reprise

What an order!

Originally Posted Thursday, July 30, 2009
Writer's Block

I can't write what I want,
have to settle for backing up
and saying I can't write
what I want.

This will have to do.

The dragons all went home.
I am left with their breath.
Dragon scat in my house
forces me to step carefully.

Written February 2, 2009 11:04 AM

Sunday, January 23, 2011

I'm In My Own Way, I & II - Reprise

King Lear and The Fool In The Storm

William Shakespeare (1564–1616). The Oxford Shakespeare. 1914.

King Lear

Act III. Scene II.

Another Part of the Heath. Storm still.

Enter LEAR and Fool.

Lear. Blow, winds, and crack your cheeks! rage! blow!
You cataracts and hurricanoes, spout
Till you have drench’d our steeples, drown’d the cocks!
You sulphurous and thought-executing fires,
Vaunt-couriers to oak-cleaving thunderbolts,
Singe my white head! And thou, all-shaking thunder,
Strike flat the thick rotundity o’ the world!
Crack nature’s moulds, all germens spill at once
That make ingrateful man!

Fool. O nuncle, court holy-water in a dry house is better than this rain-water out o’ door. Good nuncle, in, and ask thy daughters’ blessing; here’s a night pities neither wise man nor fool.

Lear. Rumble thy bellyful! Spit, fire! spout, rain!
Nor rain, wind, thunder, fire, are my daughters:
I tax not you, you elements, with unkindness;
I never gave you kingdom, call’d you children,
You owe me no subscription: then, let fall
Your horrible pleasure; here I stand, your slave,
A poor, infirm, weak, and despis’d old man.
But yet I call you servile ministers,
That have with two pernicious daughters join’d
Your high-engender’d battles ’gainst a head
So old and white as this. O! O! ’tis foul.

Fool. He that has a house to put his head in has a good head-piece.
The cod-piece that will house
Before the head has any,
The head and he shall louse;
So beggars marry many.
The man that makes his toe
What he his heart should make,
Shall of a corn cry woe,
And turn his sleep to wake.

For there was never yet fair woman but she made mouths in a glass.

Here is something...two poems I wrote twenty-two months apart, both with the same title. I have posted each poem before.

I'm In My Own Way

If I shed my skin
Like the garden snake I saw,
I would know better
Than to build cartoons of us.

I would then know who you are.

If I dropped my eyes,
Got brave like angels can be,
I would see better
And stop making most things up.

I would then know who I am.

November 5, 2008 9:35 AM

I'm In My Own Way

You have given me
a real break, a fine, fine gift,
yes, one for the books,
and me, the guy who
stands here all so negative
in spite of your love.

I feel like a tired
swimmer struggling so toward
the surface of things.

September 2, 2010 9:38 AM

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Finding The Balance - Reprise

First published May 25, 2009, but without the Greg McDonald stuff...

I have quit trying to write the perfect poem. That's how come I can write so many of them. Sometimes I think I will be able to quit trying to write the perfect dialog. Then I could write the novel that's in me. Not yet. I am still screwed up over dialog and cannot write novels. I also can't write song lyrics. Bummer.

The dialog master is Gregory McDonald, and the books that show this are his Fletch series novels. He managed to tell most of the story in his dialog in those several novels. I wanna be him, Mom.

Wiki says: "Gregory Mcdonald (February 15, 1937 – September 7, 2008) was an American mystery writer best known for his character Irwin Maurice Fletcher, an investigative reporter otherwise known as "Fletch." The Fletch series, consisting of nine novels, also spawned the 'Flynn' series, as well as the 'Son of Fletch' series.

"Two of the Fletch books have earned Edgar Awards from the Mystery Writers of America: Fletch was named Best First Novel in 1975, and Confess, Fletch won for Best Paperback Original in 1977. This is the only time a novel and its sequel won back-to-back Edgars."

I happen to know without looking that Greg was president of the Mystery Writers of America at one point. Wiki omits this factoid.

Of course, Fletch was made into a movie starring Chevy Chase in 1985, an excellent choice considering the style of dialog and the humor in McDonald's plotting.

Finding The Balance

I am here again,
Trying to figure it all,
Trying to square things.

I know I'm not all alone,
That others wish to balance
The ball precisely.

The perfect poem won't fit
In the perfect life.

January 6, 2009 9:57 AM

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Having Servants

This is a Hindu Village apparently still there though the temple spire we could see is now gone, a casualty of political unrest. The village is isolated in the center of a golf course. The golf course is ringed by a race track for horse races. The separation is because Hindus and Muslims do not get along so well. The photo was captioned taken in 2008. The village looks very much as it did when I was there in 1969. By the way, the Hindus are really poor, while the golf course outside their village is for the rich. The golf course sports special hazards, sacred Hindu cows and the birds that attend them, also very large crows.

In 1967, my Dad got his second overseas American Society School posting, this time in Dacca, East Pakistan, now known as Dhaka, Bangladesh. In a long and complex story I wound up going with my Mom and Dad to this part of the world. Dhaka is centrally placed in Bangladesh and is far enough away from the main rivers and also high enough to miss most of the flooding that is seasonally associated with the local monsoon. In those days one of the most affluent areas in all Dhaka was the district called Dhanmondi. Many of the consular and embassy offices were located there and the biggest concentration of foreign nationals associated with diplomatic services also lived there. We settled temporarily in one house and then got another where we stayed for most of our two year tour. While there I actually held a job of sorts for a lot of the time in the Holy Family Hospital which still serves Dhaka today. There are major changes to Dhanmondi. I looked and could not recognize the area in the satellite photos. Most is newer than the end of the sixties.

Wiki says:
"Dhanmondi (Bengali: ধানমন্ডি) is one of the most crowded planned areas in Dhaka city. Its origins can be traced back to the late 1950s, beginning as an affluent residential area, and over the decades evolving into a miniature city, where one can find everything from hospitals to malls, schools, banks, offices and universities.

"Dhanmondi has been traditionally known as an upmarket, affluent residential area. After the liberation war, it primarily consisted of two storied houses and fostered a quiet neighborhood environment. More recently, migration issues, aggressive real estate business policies, and increasing numbers of schools and shopping malls have transformed its quiet residential status to that of a more congested, commercial area.

"It is in Dhanmondi where the founding father of Bangladesh, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, lived and was assassinated, along with his entire family, in 1975."

It was expected of us to have chowkidars (gate guards), cooks and utility servants, who cleaned and served the meals. It was difficult to do with less than three people to do these functions. The school was assigned a driver as well. I got a drivers license early on as a matter of course, and so did we all but none of us drove much. It was too dangerous for us to be driving in case of an accident. It was much better to have a native driver. I got around in bicycle rickshaws and a ubiquitous vehicle we knew as a baby taxi which had a rain cover and a seat over the back two wheels of a three wheel scooter. It was otherwise open.

The unrest that led to the creation of Bangladesh in a break away of East from West Pakistan had begun before we left. It was serious but not so serious as we were leaving that we had to leave. However, one reason I quit working at the Holy Family Hospital was the decision that we made to limit my exposure to the city outside the Dhanmondi district. One day as I tried to return to the hospital after lunch at home, there was shooting just up the street and I went back home that day. The unrest got severe enough that the longtime government of Ayub Khan located in Karachi in West Pakistan was deposed and General Yaya Khan replaced him. That happened before we left. When we returned home, all hell broke loose in the east and that took care of that.

Here is a map of Dhanmondi district.I lived on the small square that is called Nazeeb Park though not on this map and is located just above the named Dhaka City College that did not exist in 1969. I lived on what you could call the southeast corner across from the park. Down south of there you will see the designation New Market. In the back of the New Market was a government licensed ganja (marijuana) shop. I did a fair amount of legal business there. I had to buy hashish on the black market because importing it was illegal. Bangladeshis smoked both hash and ganja mixed with tobacco. They used coconut water pipes or the clay heads they placed on the pipestems called chellums. They held the chellums in their hands wrapped in wetted cloths because they used a moist mix rolled together and chopped fine with a red hot tinder on top to drive the heat through and burn the dope. One of our crowd, fresh in country, dropped as if poleaxed from a good hit of that stuff and then promptly shit his pants. We had to dunk him in the lake to clean him on the way back home. Good times, eh? especially as we sat crowded together in a bay taxi, three of us, a close fit.

One of our cooks was named Nazir but I forget which one. The one I write of in the poem was a handsome white haired fellow of late middle age and his hair had a beautiful wave to it. His face was very kind. He was slender, perfectly porportioned but quite small. He spoke in English moderately well. Our other servants did not speak English that well. The cook ran things. Our driver, Gulmir also spoke English fairly well. Our cook hailed from country far to the south of Dhaka, closer to Chittagong. He was an excellent cook, trained in the British Indian tradition and a shrewd shopper on the open market, a skill necessary in a good cook.

This poem is posted as part of Big Tent Poetry's Friday gathering:

Having Servants

You got sick on us,
something like a leprosy.
We had to let go,
Send you home, your wife
bewailing your family's
fate. Who will give you
a cooking job now?
As for us, we've given up
the best banana
fritters in the world,
in the whole of Bangladesh.
This is no damn fair.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Shape Shifting - Three Word Wednesday

"Shape shifting is the transformation (mentally or physically) of one's self into an animal. A 'theriomorph' is a shapeshifter; a being who can assume an animal as well as a human form.

"A spiritual theriomorph is someone who at least sees aspects of animals in his or her personality and actions, and those aspects shape who he or she is. More so in the meaning of a spiritual shapeshifter, being able to assume animal as well as human form in spirit (or a mix of the two).

"There are two types of shapeshifting; changing your light body in the astral to power animal, and changing your physical form on the earth plane into an animal. Perhaps this is where the lycanthropy legend actually began. Very adept shamans are said to be able to change their physical human forms into that of animals.

"During certain ritual dances, humans can be possessed by the animal spirit. Although they outwardly do not become the animal, their body may contort or move in the fashion that the animal is most comfortable. Vocalizations are also heard, such as the cry of the Eagle, scream of the Falcon, etc.

"These power dances are not harmful, as long as they are done within some type of sacred circle. Inwardly, the individual melds with the animal. The human's sense of smell or sight may be heightened, there could be increased dexterity in the limbs, or a feeling of savage power that the animal may represent.

"Depending on animals for food and fur for warmth, primitive man knew that his destiny was linked with that of the beasts. His almost religious fascination with the creatures he hunted is evidenced by cave drawings found as far apart as France and Australia.

"Many early civilizations revered animals as the incarnation of gods; in ancient Egypt, for example, both the cobra and the cat were objects of worship. It is not surprising that stories of humans turning into beasts, has become deeply ingrained in the popular imagination. Often such metamorphoses are associated with fear and terror.

"In central and eastern Europe, for example, a belief in the bloodsucking vampire that condemns its victims to a living death has persisted into the 20th century.

"In West Africa until recently, members of a secret society called the Leopard Men believed that simply wearing the leopard's distinctive spotted skin would magically imbue them with that animal's fearsome strength." - Crystal Links

Written for 3 Word Wednesday

Rule For Shape Shifting

On the slow descent
from human to beast it is
important to kill
only for food if
you don't want to get sicker,
go rogue, surreal,
end up bad, hunted,
chased into a corner, treed
snarling and spitting.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Caring For Each Other, Northern Goddess-Reprise

First posted Sunday, December 20, 2009

Here is one of the better visions of compassion and one world view that supports it.

Caring for Each Other

The Buddha has suggested that we are without a mother and father to take care of things for us. Mother Earth, once thought to be all-forgiving and capable of absorbing any abuse we could heap upon her, is not the infinitely benevolent resource we thought she was. As we learn of our own mothers at a certain point of maturity, Mother Earth can and does get worn down by giving and forgiving in the face of our persistent demands. And our Father who is in heaven, though perhaps immensely old and lord over a host of devas (as the Buddhists view him), is nevertheless subject to the laws of karma and is not sufficiently omnipotent to make it all work out for us in the end.

If we do not care for one another, who else will care for us? Who among us has the right to say of another, "He is of no use to us?" For better or worse, whether we like it or not, we are all in this together. Learning how to care for one another is a central part of the path and of the practice.

- Andrew Olendzki, Ph.D., "Medicine for the World," from the Summer 2008 Tricycle.

I feel deep accord with Andrew, though I would add that Father God takes his less than sufficiently powerful position by agreement with us and with the planet, with Mother Earth as well. He could clean this up but He won't, because He promised not to. That is why this is God's Permitted World, not God's World.

I take the position that the primary Trinity is the Taoist one, Heaven, Earth, Man and that we are equally pivotal through the point of soul, co-creators of our destiny in ourselves and on the planet. This is by the deeper collective agreement that upholds the thematic personal agreements that we keep or break in individual lifetimes.

But I am too smitten to leave it at that. I require by my erotic nature that Mother Earth take another aspect. As a man, I need a divine lover. I will not speak of the heart of a woman and her desires and needs at this moment but of my own. I need not only the triune aspect of the world's co-creation and the quaternity of my crucifixion here and yours, I need as well the duality of communion with the feminine and the orgasmic nature of encounter with holiness within this lifetime, with Goddess and with you.

The Goddess Freya (Northern Goddess of Love and Beauty) and Her Cats
Friday is named after Her and belongs to Her.

I have this picture framed on my living room wall.

Northern Goddess

Your heart is thunder
and you stand so lightning struck
with your smoky hair,
a goddess, true north
for the creatures of the dry
found south of your lines.

March 10, 2009 7:34 AM

Monday, January 17, 2011

Asking Permission - Reprise

Sun Dance by Paul Tokarski

Paul Tokarski makes his living in Las Vegas, Nevada as a professional photographer and fine artist working in resin art and polaroid emulsion manipulation. Here is his personal website:

There is a whole bunch of interesting stuff on display there and he also is permanently on show in a couple galleries in Las Vegas, so one website claims.

The following opinion both comes from and continues to form my experience.

First posted FRIDAY, JANUARY 30, 2009

I believe there is a temperament that leads to art, spirituality, and also perhaps extremes of character which under sad circumstances leads to certain forms of insanity. On one extreme end of all this may reside the people who tend to various manifestations of the paranormal, on the other extreme end are the people who are so creatively mad that they may burn themselves up creating great art or music or something but die early or go insane.

These people are also candidates for relationships with spirit power and lives dedicated to God in one way or another. A high percentage of these people when lost, at sea in themselves and the world also end up alcoholic. The First Nation peoples have a high degree of alcoholism mainly because they bred for shamans as well as warriors as a people in general. That was still going on among them when they encountered European trade liquor and simultaneously had their culture destroyed.

Asking Permission

I point my arrow
Of power straight at the place
Where my heart marks you,
Where I mean to change your life
With the magic rites I learned
From crows and foxes.

I would start the chant only
With your permission.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Raven - A Reprise

I have used this picture before and I like it a lot.

Originally posted: 2/28/2009 07:59:00 PM
You get your help where you can find it. I am posting a poem about waking up. Charles Tart is one among others who points out that we live in a consensus trance, that we don't know it for a trance because it is normal to us, and that breaking away is quite uncomfortable for most of us. I am not going to argue whether this is all true or not, but I will point out that this is one way to describe the challenge laid at our feet by every mystical tradition on the planet.

Dr. Charles T. Tart (born 1937) is an American psychologist and parapsychologist known for his psychological work on the nature of consciousness (particularly altered states of consciousness), as one of the founders of the field of transpersonal psychology, and for his research in scientific parapsychology. He earned his Ph. D. in psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1963.

His first books, Altered States of Consciousness (1969) and Transpersonal Psychologies (1975), became widely used texts that were instrumental in allowing these areas to become part of modern psychology.

The mystical traditions all agree as well that the solution happens only in solitude at some point, because in order to see you have to wake up and make peace among the dreamers. They mostly agree that you need a guide. That guide might be a guru, as in the eastern traditions, a spirit guide as with the vision quests of the First Nations, or the Holy Ghost as encountered within the Christian monastic traditions. Every tradition as well allows for the possibility that the spiritual heart of the world can erupt in you at any time, should there be a need for that to happen.

This is nothing to fool with. There are people who do, though. Be careful who you might choose to follow. One of the worst lies is the one told by the false prophet, the person still asleep who claims he is awake.

The mystical traditions also claim that if you waken unprepared you will try your best to go back to sleep but once awake this attempt and every attempt thereafter becomes more and more unhappy and miserable. You can run but you can no longer hide.

Oh yes, and as Zen says of this business of waking up, when you achieve enlightenment, what you do next is the next right thing, like chopping wood for the fire, like carrying water for the bath. Like loving and forgiving as many times as necessary.

The Raven

You perch on my head,
Pluck at my eyebrows and talk
To me like my Lord.

I am shaken by your voice
As you speak clearly to me.

I mean you shake me.
My eyes are clean. Parasites
Eaten, you depart.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Thinks He's A Poet

If I can stop one heart from breaking,
I shall not live in vain.
If I can ease one life the aching,
Or cool one pain,
Or help one fainting robin
Unto his nest again,
I shall not live in vain.

- Emily Dickinson

Emily Elizabeth Dickinson (December 10, 1830 – May 15, 1886) was an American poet. Born in Amherst, Massachusetts, to a successful family with strong community ties, she lived a mostly introverted and reclusive life. After she studied at the Amherst Academy for seven years in her youth, she spent a short time at Mount Holyoke Female Seminary before returning to her family's house in Amherst. Thought of as an eccentric by the locals, she became known for her penchant for white clothing and her reluctance to greet guests or, later in life, even leave her room. Most of her friendships were therefore carried out by correspondence.

Although Dickinson was a prolific private poet, fewer than a dozen of her nearly eighteen hundred poems were published during her lifetime. The work that was published during her lifetime was usually altered significantly by the publishers to fit the conventional poetic rules of the time. Dickinson's poems are unique for the era in which she wrote; they contain short lines, typically lack titles, and often use slant rhyme as well as unconventional capitalization and punctuation. Many of her poems deal with themes of death and immortality, two recurring topics in letters to her friends. - Wiki

A man who becomes conscious of the responsibility he bears toward a human being who affectionately waits for him, or to an unfinished work, will never be able to throw away his life. He knows the "why" for his existence, and will be able to bear almost any "how." - Victor Frankl

Viktor Emil Frankl M.D., Ph.D. (March 26, 1905, Leopoldstadt, Vienna[1] – September 2, 1997, Vienna) was an Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist as well as a Holocaust survivor. Frankl was the founder of logotherapy, which is a form of Existential Analysis, the "Third Viennese School of Psychotherapy". His best-selling book, Man's Search for Meaning (published under a different title in 1959: From Death-Camp to Existentialism, and originally published in 1946 as trotzdem Ja zum Leben sagen: Ein Psychologe erlebt das Konzentrationslager), chronicles his experiences as a concentration camp inmate and describes his psychotherapeutic method of finding meaning in all forms of existence, even the most sordid ones, and thus a reason to continue living. Frankl was one of the key figures in existential therapy and a prominent source of inspiration for humanistic psychologists.

This poem was part of a post, Wednesday, June 24, 2009, an exercise in a strange form of humility. I have as many poems as Emily, almost, but I doubt I am or ever will be a great American poet.

Thinks He's A Poet

I abandoned you.
It was me telling stories.
That's when it happened.
Otherwise, staying
Near my nest and still myself,
Still ordinary,
On small simple walks,
I'd not have cast my odd lot
To quest for dragons,
To seek the vale of secrets,
Or some wilder place.

Now look at this man.
Hunched over pecking the keys,
Thinks he's a poet.

January 19, 2009 10:30 AM

Friday, January 14, 2011

Weaver's Work

This is a painting of Zambhala, a Tibetan Buddhist divinity that some will call upon as a practice in their spiritual walk hoping for spiritual prosperity. They can use this Mantra among others: "Om Padma Trotha Arya Zambhala Siddhaya Hum Phat"

Buddhism does interesting things when you start looking through various filters. That is why I can't leave it alone even though I am far too deist to really take it seriously, Tibetan Mahayana schools notwithstanding. For example, it makes complete sense to me that I can in all arrogance ask God to come near and participate by leading me in Bodhisattva activity, thus allowing me divinely permitted if temporary elevations justified in the service of getting this whole entangled thing over with.

In the meantime, while we continue to do mean time, I also dare to ask to serve at God's permission in saving the world right now, holding it together in all patience and compassion. Saving the world right now is the true subversive activity that Hippies once yearned to perform. That's another post.

Saving the world right now is also, by the way, the deepest activity of the mage, that for which he gathers his familiars and his power, and it is the esoteric activity of the alchemist, why he dares to transmute the elements. It also is the work of Shambala, of the hidden masters who reside in the mystery. When the shaman calls upon the Golden Age of the Ancestors, the Dreamtime and shifts his shape to all good purpose, it is to save the world right now. And when Carl Jung struggled to express the mechansim of divine eruptions, arriving at archetypes and synchronicities, he too was engaged in this rich subversion of ordinary days and ordinary mind.

How's that for a prose poem?

However, deist or no, here is a pointed discussion about how an open mind in a technically specific sense sidesteps conventional knowledge and information for a more direct universal approach to all that's real, striding right past all illusion.

Found in my mailbox, Tricycle Quarterly's Daily Dharma talk for January 13, 2011:

Nirvana is an Open Mind

Nirvana, or whatever you want to call it, means the complete deconstruction of all of our rigid mental patterns and habits as well as the deconstruction of all of our limiting beliefs. This deconstruction creates a space for true inquiry. When we open our hearts and our minds completely, we are in a place where we can experience something new, a new truth, a new reality, a miracle that we haven’t experienced in the past. We can see things differently and they present new, expanded opportunities, new horizons. Therefore an open mind is required. This is true not only in relationship to the truth but in relationship to everyday life as well.

- Anam Thubten

As a young child growing up in Tibet, Anam Thubten was intent on entering the monastery, where for much of his childhood and young adult life he received the benefit of extensive academic and spiritual training from several teachers in the Nyingma branch of Tibetan Buddhism. He conveys the Dharma with the blessing of teachers Khenpo Chopel, Lama Garwang and others gone before in a lineage of wisdom holders and enlightened masters. Also during his formative years in Tibet he developed a special affinity with a yogi and lifetime hermit Lama Tsurlo, who became a deep source of inspiration that continues to manifest in Anam Thubten’s expression of the Dharma.

After arriving in America in the early 1990’s Anam Thubten began to teach the Dharma at the request of others. Today he travels extensively in the U.S. and occasionally abroad, teaching in fluent English and offering in a direct experiential manner the essence of Prajnaparamita, the timeless, non-conceptual wisdom teachings of the Buddha. These teachings, free of any sect or dogma, point directly to the recognition of one’s true nature as boundless love, unfettered by the false notion of a self that is separate from others, and free from any limitations of egoic mind. In his teachings and presence with others, Anam Thubten invites the heart-opening, mind-emptying awakening to one’s true nature that is already enlightened.

Anam Thubten is the author of various articles and books in both the Tibetan and English language. His first book in English appeared under the title ‘No Self, No Problem.’ He is the founder and spiritual advisor of Dharmata Foundation based in Point Richmond, California.

Weaver's Work

If I took the weave
apart and collected space
I found between, space
I put in the jar
I keep on the old oak shelf
above our heart's fire,
if I did this thing
it would be for hope, for you,
in the name of love.

October 15, 2009 12:22 PM

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Someone's Got To - Reprise

That's me on the left, with my mother and a colleague of hers on the Bridge of Faith at Unity Village, Mo. on July 30, 1972. Mom had moved to begin training as a Unity Minister.

I am sitting at the dining table in our apartment overlooking the Yaquina Bay in Newport, Oregon, ca. 1976.

First posted, THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 24, 2009

I couldn't make this up. I'll bet you couldn't either. It is just beyond me to ever conceive of this. I found it on Post Secret, so somebody did make it up, perhaps even commited this act. I loved the postcard so much I wrote it as a poem. This act against the Gideon Bible is surely one of the ultimates in underground resistance, the sort of thing hippies loved to do. It is nearly perfect in its peacefulness. I don't care that I stole the idea. Stealing the idea (but not the form) is technically legal. Stealing the idea also is an underground act.

Everything I am builds on the fact that for six years I was a hippie in one or another form. In 1966 this die was cast. In 1973 I was forced by circumstance to go underground. I began training up in things like careers and marriages. Even so it took eight more years until I bought a house. My heart still delights in things hip.

Someone's Got To

I go on long trips,
stay in hotels with nothing
to do, but pull out
Gideon's Bible
and draw naked people where
I can find the space
for them. Then I list
the pages on the cover
page to help others.

February 13, 2009 4:16 PM

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

A Bad Day - Three Word Wednesday

What a Day! I'm so confused!

I don't know where I am this morning, why my freakish mind would go to such a place. Must be bad drugs. Some mornings it is hardly worth it to gnaw through the leather straps. But at least I have both my ears intact.

Written for Three Word Wednesday

Three words: harmless, moist, yelp

A Bad Day

I thought you harmless,
dewy, moist as a baby
fresh from mother's love,
from the morning's bath.

I turned away in all trust
and that's when you bit
off my ear's soft lobe,
took my old gold earring too.
What a yelp I gave.

January 12, 2011 11:51 AM

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Tender Spots - Agnes Martin

First posted, SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 8, 2009 - Agnes Martin

Agnes as a young artist

Agnes late in life

"Of all the pitfalls in our paths and the tremendous delays and wanderings off the track I want to say that they are not what they seem to be. I want to say that all that seems like fantastic mistakes are not mistakes, all that seems like error is not error; and it all has to be done. That which seems like a false step is the next step." - Agnes Martin

Agnes Martin (March 22, 1912 – December 16, 2004) was a Canadian-American painter, often referred to as a minimalist; Martin considered herself an abstract expressionist. - Wiki

What a statement of faith.

Love, compassion, forgiveness. Prayers for healing.

The Tender Spots

The tender spot's found
in between
the dark and day
or day's end and night,

or in between me
you dancing in twilight
lit by rosy flame.

You said eternal
is found in us. I said
Yes, within our hearts,

In the tender spots.

February 25, 2009 5:03 PM

Here are two of Agnes' minimalist works

Monday, January 10, 2011

The Enigma, Old Business - Reprise

This post is a reprise of the post for WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 11, 2009. I have added the pictures and the music video.

"I have come to believe that the whole world is an enigma, a harmless enigma that is made terrible by our own mad attempt to interpret it as though it had an underlying truth."
-- Umberto Eco

I am very happy Eco said it. However, I can't stop there because it is not only madness that attempts to interpret the enigma from our side. Sometimes it is a yearning of the deepest heart, and that creates when there is talent and skill, much of the greatest art. And in my experience, the penetration is not only one way. What I mean is, the enigma sometimes interprets me. When that happens it is not always terrible. Sometimes it is a new birth. When the music broke loose in me in the nineties so I could return to it, I feel this is what happened. After the turning point, the world is no less a harmless enigma, yet it is now married to the yearning I have had lifelong where once it was somewhere beyond me, and maddening for that, just as Eco says, terrible, demanding an interpretation which is impossible.

Is this also the force behind the experience of mothers and fathers who fall in love with their infant, that the enigma is delivered directly into their care, just as they once were delivered? Is this not as well the position of the mystic? Is this what happens in the best love making? This is as well, I believe, the best way to die, embracing the enigma.

That quaternity is the true cross found at the heart of the harmless enigma that is the world we live in.


I am an arrogant man, but I am a recovering arrogant man. I try for gracious gratitude, even though I think gratitude is beneath me. Practice. I am glad to have learned the musician's lesson about practice, even though I really think practice should be beneath me too. Can you imagine how embarassed I have been at times, getting caught in my arrogance? I am unfortunately not arrogant enough to avoid shame successfully. I am shame driven when I am smaller than fits my true heart. I have to keep my arrogance a secret from myself in order to function that way. Or else I must practice, practice, practice until I learn to live right sized.

Old Business

I didn't ask you
to help me, did not accept
graciously at all,
in fact I rushed off
as if I found something new
laying on holy ground.
A unique moment,
a unique new man was born,
that's how I thought then.
Now I know how this
is old business, common,
belongs to us all.

February 26, 2009 7:50 PM

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Fields of Gold

What can I now say
that hasn't been said other
ways at other times?

Just like this
I love you.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

A Fool's Grin On My Face

The Japanese Peace Pagoda
Buddhist Temple found in the Darjeeling hill district.

Darjeeling is one of the most magnificent hill resorts in the world. Part of West Bengal, this district is bordered by Nepal to the west, Tibet to the north, Bhutan to the east and Bangladesh (East Bengal) to the south, with a narrow corridor connecting the district to the rest of West Bengal. This heavenly retreat is bathed in hues of every shade. The flaming red rhododendrons, the sparkling white magnolias, the miles of undulating hillsides covered with emerald green tea bushes, the exotic forests of silver fir - all under the blanket of a brilliant azure sky dappled with specks of clouds, compellingly gives Darjeeling the appellation of Queen of the Hill Stations. Darjeeling is internationally famous for its tea industry and the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, a UNESCO World Heritage Site

Advice on Living Well
and Dying Consciously
by His Holiness the Dalai Lama
translated and edited by
Jeffrey Hopkins, Ph.D.
"Everyone tries to remove superficial pain, but there is another class of techniques concerned with removing suffering on a deeper level--aiming at a minimum to diminish suffering in future lives and, beyond that, even to remove all forms of suffering for oneself as well as for all beings. Spiritual practice is of this deeper type.

These techniques involve an adjustment of attitude; thus, spiritual practice basically means to adjust [and refine] your thinking. In Sanskrit [spiritual practice] is called dharma, which means "that which holds." This means that by adjusting counterproductive attitudes, you are freed from a level of suffering and thus held back from that particular suffering. Spiritual practice protects, or holds back, yourself and others from misery.

From first understanding your own situation in cyclic existence and seeking to hold yourself back from suffering, you extend your realization to other beings and develop compassion, which means to dedicate yourself to holding others back from suffering. It makes practical concentrating on the welfare of others, you yourself will be happier."

Is it just me? I think the Dalai Lama's statements concerning the heart of Buddhist practice are beautiful and compelling. My first impulse was to use this space to explain various aspects of the way they stir my soul. I spent some time crafting several paragraphs and I did a pretty good job. After I finished, I took a nap, then I mercifully dumped that entire work. I know better than to try to explain it. No matter how precise and clear I make those explanations, they cannot do what I really want of them. I have to tell you I love you other ways.

A Fool's Grin On My Face

I'm mad, I tell you
as if I could convince me
in time, in telling
you over, over
again with a strange giggle
too small for my size,
choosing to wear hats
sideways with arrows through them,
stumbling as I go.

I'm mad, I tell you!

October 13, 2009 1:09 PM

Thursday, January 6, 2011

A Hermetic Moment

Giambologna, born as Jean Boulogne, incorrectly known as Giovanni da Bologna and Giovanni Bologna (1529 – 13 August 1608), was a sculptor, known for his marble and bronze statuary in a late Renaissance or Mannerist style. Giambologna was born in Douai, Flanders (now in France). After youthful studies in Antwerp with the architect-sculptor Jacques du Broeucq, he moved to Italy in 1550, and studied in Rome. Giambologna made detailed study of the sculpture of classical antiquity. He was also much influenced by Michelangelo, but developed his own Mannerist style, with perhaps less emphasis on emotion and more emphasis on refined surfaces, cool elegance and beauty.

Giambologna became well known for a fine sense of action and movement, and a refined, differentiated surface finish. Among his most famous works are the Mercury (of which he did four versions), poised on one foot, supported by a zephyr. The god raises one arm to point heavenwards, in a gesture borrowed from the repertory of classical rhetoric that is characteristic of Giambologna's maniera. (From Wiki)

A Hermetic Moment

Myriad spidery
threads, halos of warm highlights
cascading around
the remarkable
presence of wings on his feet
announce that he has
reached the heroic,
reached his calling as God's man,
God's good Messenger.

For Big Tent Poetry,
January 6, 2010, 8:52 PM

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Triangle - Three Word Wednesday

I have written the following, using plausible, taint, willingly as my contribution to the roster of poets found on the Three Word Wednesday site.

Remember there is truth in fiction. I have no wife. I once did. I betrayed her in other ways.

The Triangle

My soul willingly
carries your taint, the wide stain
as if on canvas
smeared with bright color
or my skin with wicked scent,
and you gone away
on a plausible
errand for my wife while I
hold here still silent.

January 5, 2010 4:59 PM

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


Everything Has Frozen by
Evgeniy Lauk
Nick: laew
City: Germaniya (Germany) / Paderborn


Everything except language
knows the meaning of existence.
Trees, planets, rivers, time
know nothing else. They express it
moment by moment as the universe.

Even this fool of a body
lives it in part, and would
have full dignity within it
but for the ignorant freedom
of my talking mind
- Les Murray

Leslie Allan Murray (born 1938) is the outstanding poet of his generation and one of his country's most influential literary critics. A nationalist and republican, he sees his writing as helping to define, in cultural and spiritual terms, what it means to be Australian.

When I lift from a standing start, with both of my feet firmly planted on the planet, I do not disagree with Les Murray about the nature of things. But I came at this wondrous poem of his looking to frame my own work. It was not today for me a standing start. I was already in the air. So I must say there is yet more. There is a place for the words, for the worlds within the words. In this I stand with the producers of fantasy art in all its manifestations. The inner world is pressing in its demand for expression in some of us and is appreciated by so many more. There is a place for all that. I have a modest following here on this blog, with over eight thousand hits in seven months, and that means that many of you agree with me, or are at least entertained by me. When I "remember" other lives and other shapes in this life, I accept the presence of this and other inner worlds, the imaginings and the dreams. So here's a brief display of another world, one of the worlds that can be found within the words:


As you sink with grace
and place your crown aside, place
your head on my knee:

Milady, I am
perplexed, in wonder, half-smile
on my boyish lips.
I recall other
nights and feel the full presence
of your throne beside
this stoop where I sit
lower than you would if you took
your true rightful place.

October 13, 2009 12:43 PM

Monday, January 3, 2011

Searching For Love

Artist: Philip Straub
Medium: Photoshop and Painter
About this Image: A painting for the Philip Straub original IP, Utherworlds.

"There is a way that nature speaks, that land speaks. Most of the time we are simply not patient enough, quiet enough, to pay attention to the story." - Linda Hogan

Linda Hogan, Chickasaw, (b. July 16, 1947) is a poet, storyteller, academic, playwright, novelist, environmentalist and writer of short stories. Hogan grew up in a military family and therefore moved often, with most of her childhood spent in Oklahoma and Colorado. As a result, she did not grow up within an Indian community. Linda has a Masters degree in English and Creative Writing from the University of Colorado.

"Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding about ourselves." - Carl Jung

"There is no freedom like seeing myself as I am and not losing heart." - Elizabeth J. Canham

(I comment, Isn't it wonderful that someone thought to say it that way?)

The Rev. Dr. Elizabeth J. Canham has been leading pilgrimages and retreats for more than twenty-five years. She is a priest in the Episcopal Church who came to the United States from her native England in 1981 and continues to celebrate her Celtic heritage. She has served as spiritual guide to pilgrim groups in Israel, Egypt, Europe, the British Isles, and the Republic of Ireland. She is connected with Stillpoint Community and Stillpoint Ministries

Searching For Love

I have looked for you
everywhere, pretending
I would recognize
you if I found you.

October 8, 2009 3:46 PM

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