Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Human Longtime History

Go Here

Preparing For The Night

Three Word Wednesday - This weeks' words
Drag; verb: Pull (something or someone) along forcefully, roughly or with difficulty; take (someone) to or from a place or event despite their reluctance; noun: the action of pulling something forcefully or with difficulty; act of inhaling smoke; clothing more conventionally worn by the opposite sex.

Mumble; verb: Say something indistinctly and quietly, making it difficult for others to hear; noun: A quiet and indistinct utterance.

Penetrate; verb: Succeed in forcing a way in or through (a thing); infiltrate an enemy or group to spy on it; (of a man) insert the penis into the vagina or anus (of a sexual partner).

Preparing For The Night

Take a drag, you queen.
Inhale, then mumble hopeful
schemes that penetrate
your exhaled smokescreen
like the needle pokes your skin
in those fevered times
before the mirror
as you paint your nails red
and flick your fine foot.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

I Know Better

"As long as we have practiced neither concentration nor mindfulness, the ego takes itself for granted and remains its usual normal size, as big as the people around one will allow." - Ayya Khema

Ayya Khema (August 25, 1923 - November 2, 1997), a Buddhist teacher, was born as Ilse Kussel in Berlin, Germany, to Jewish parents.

Khema dodged the Nazis during World War II. She eventually moved to the United States. After travelling in Asia she decided to become a Buddhist nun in Sri Lanka in 1979. She was very active in providing opportunities for women to practice Buddhism, founding several centers around the world. In 1987 she co-ordinated the first ever International Conference of Buddhist Nuns.

Khema wrote over two dozen books in English and German. Her autobiography, I Give You My Life, is an adventure story sprinkled with nuggets of spiritual wisdom.

Ayya Khema was the spiritual director of Buddha-Haus in Germany, founded with her guidance. Her ashes rest in a beautiful stupa there:

I Know Better

You invite me up
but I know me way better than
to go North at this time of year.

All I would do is
bring the wrong clothes, pack too much
and then take pratfalls
in the softly snow
falling gently down.

December 14, 2009 8:19 PM

Monday, August 29, 2011


Hurricane Irene Hammers the Northeast

Updated: August 28, 2011 5:50 am ET
As of Sunday morning, the western edge of Hurricane Irene officially made landfall near Little Egg Inlet, N.J., continued to march northward right along the Jersey shore. This was the first hurricane to have made landfall in New Jersey since 1903!

Heavy rains have spread well ahead of Hurricane Irene's circulation center into New England. The threat of flooding along Irene's path is very high. Strong wind gusts will continue to cause tree damage and power outages. Coastal areas will be battered with large waves and a destructive storm surge.

Irene Longshore

Wiki says: Irene is a name derived from the Greek meaning "peace". It may also be spelled or transliterated as "Irini", "Eirene", or "Eirini".

Eirene, or Irene ( /aɪˈriːni/; the Roman equivalent was Pax), one of the Horae, (women or goddesses of the hour or time) was the personification of peace, and was depicted in art as a beautiful young woman carrying a cornucopia, sceptre and a torch or rhyton. She is said sometimes to be the daughter of Zeus and Themis.

She was particularly well regarded by the citizens of Athens. After a naval victory over Sparta in 375 BC, the Athenians established a cult for Eirene, erecting altars to her. They held an annual state sacrifice to her after 371 BC to commemorate the Common Peace of that year and set up a votive statue in her honour in the agora (marketplace) of Athens. The statue was executed in bronze by Cephisodotus the Elder, the father of the famous sculptor Praxiteles. It was acclaimed by the Athenians, who depicted it on vases and coins.

Although the statue is now lost, it was copied in marble by the Romans; one of the best surviving copies is in the Munich Glyptothek. It depicts the goddess carrying a child with her left arm – Ploutos, the god of plenty and son of Demeter, the goddess of agriculture. Eirene's missing right hand once held a sceptre. She is shown gazing maternally at Ploutos, who is looking back at her trustingly. The statue is an allegory for Plenty (Ploutos) prospering under the protection of Peace (Eirene); it constituted a public appeal to good sense.


What to make of it,
this coincidence of wind
with the ghost hollows
in my soul's edges?
It is not full hurricane
strength but it's more than
depression, a storm,
a tropical storm blowing
me away from you.

Written August 29, 2011 12:30 PM

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Let's Just Be Friends

Go see the rest of the gang at Magpie Tales #80

Red Umbrella, Christopher Shay

Let's Just Be Friends

So I took my time,
then took your red umbrella
though I would prefer
my black one I left
in the back seat of my car.
You were not at home
and I did not leave
a note to say, "looking for you."
It's weird to be here
in this thing we do
now that you have said to me
let's just be friends. What?

Written August 28, 2011 7:41 PM

"Use your mind. Remember. Observe.
You are not different from others.
Most of their experiences are valid for you too.
Think clearly and deeply,
go into the structure of your desires
and their ramifications.
They are a most important part of your mental
and emotional make-up
and powerfully affect your actions.
Remember, you cannot abandon what you do not know.
To go beyond yourself, you must know yourself."
- Nisargadatta Maharaj, I Am That

Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj (April 17, 1897 – September 8, 1981), born Maruti Shivrampant Kambli, was an Indian spiritual teacher and philosopher of Advaita (Nondualism), and a Guru, belonging to the Inchgiri branch of the Navnath Sampradaya.
One of the 20th century's exponents of the school of Advaita Vedanta philosophy (nondualism), Sri Nisargadatta, with his direct and minimalistic explanation of non-dualism, is considered the most famous teacher of Advaita since Ramana Maharshi.

In 1973, the publication of his most famous and widely translated book, I Am That, an English translation of his talks in Marathi by Maurice Frydman, brought him worldwide recognition and followers.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

When She Was Young

Here's a mix of the real with fantasy. I wasn't there and I can't know. Some of it has the ring of truth to me. The main town on Catalina Island (the main island in the Channel Island group twenty plus miles off the Southern California coast) is called Avalon. That's where my mother lived for part of her childhood and teen years. There is another very small town at the isthmus of the island where it narrows to a less than half mile neck called Two Harbors. In the nineteen twenties, thirties and forties, Avalon was already a modest tourist town with a casino and a group of permanent residents that serviced the casino and other tourist activities, and of course the smaller group that serviced them. Santa Catalina is relatively arid and was used as for ranching, but then the owners built Avalon and its casino to attract tourism. The last owners, the Banning family who then sold it to the Wrigleys of chewing gum fame. Now 85% of the island is owned by a conservation non-profit. The Wrigleys also owned the Chicago Cubs who used Santa Catalina as their spring training facility from the twenties through the fifties.

There may have been a larger permanent population in the past. There are somewhat less than 3500 people today.

When She Was Young

When Hy lived with Pop
and Millie on the Channel
island, called Santa
Catalina, she
old enough to drive, they had
no car, but Maggie
did and Hy would drive
Nan and Ron to Two Harbors
over the gravel road
using Maggie's car, old
as it was but she not yet
eighteen and ready
to be a movie
star, or someone else by God,
anywhere damn else.

‎August ‎27, ‎2011 2:25 PM

Written for Magpie Tales - go there for the rest of the gang.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Sometimes It's Just Like This

Seppuku with ritual attire and second
Source: p.85 of The Gist of Japan - The Islands, Their People, And Missions, Rev. R. B. Peery, A.M., Ph.D. © 1897 Fleming H. Revell Company

Christopher: "I have never really been suicidal. However, I have always understood, understood both the serious act and the tangled cry for help that it might be. In Japan there was honor in seppuku, or hara kiri."

Wiki says: Seppuku ("stomach-cutting") is a form of Japanese ritual suicide by disembowelment. Seppuku was originally reserved only for samurai. Part of the samurai bushido honor code, seppuku was either used voluntarily by samurai to die with honour rather than fall into the hands of their enemies (and likely suffer torture), or as a form of capital punishment for samurai who had committed serious offenses, or performed for other reasons that had brought shame to them. The ceremonial disembowelment, which is usually part of a more elaborate ritual and performed in front of spectators, consists of plunging a short blade, traditionally a tantō, into the abdomen and moving the blade from left to right in a slicing motion.

Seppuku is also known as harakiri ("cutting the belly") and is written with the same kanji as seppuku, but in reverse order with an okurigana. In Japanese, the more formal seppuku, a Chinese on'yomi reading, is typically used in writing, while harakiri, a native kun'yomi reading, is used in speech. Ross notes,
"It is commonly pointed out that hara-kiri is a vulgarism, but this is a misunderstanding. Hara-kiri is a Japanese reading or Kun-yomi of the characters; as it became customary to prefer Chinese readings in official announcements, only the term seppuku was ever used in writing. So hara-kiri is a spoken term and seppuku a written term for the same act."

The practice of committing seppuku at the death of one's master, known as oibara, the kun'yomi or Japanese reading or tsuifuku, the on'yomi or Chinese reading, follows a similar ritual.

The first recorded act of seppuku was performed by Minamoto no Yorimasa during the Battle of Uji in the year 1180. Seppuku eventually became a key part of bushido, the code of the samurai warriors; it was used by warriors to avoid falling into enemy hands, and to attenuate shame and avoid possible torture. Samurai could also be ordered by their daimyo (feudal lords) to carry out seppuku. Later, disgraced warriors were sometimes allowed to carry out seppuku rather than be executed in the normal manner. The most common form of seppuku for men was composed of the cutting of the abdomen, and when the samurai was finished, he stretched out his neck for an assistant to decapitate him. Since the main point of the act was to restore or protect one's honor as a warrior, those who did not belong to the samurai caste were never ordered or expected to carry out seppuku. Samurai generally could carry out the act only with permission.

Maybe not today but

Sometimes It's Just Like This

That's the way it twists,
Twisting in, ripping up, then
you pull it out to
the light that reddens
through the shroud that was your shirt.
And there is not yet
any fucking pain.
Indeed, that's the way it twists,
handle slick with blood.

August 26, 2011 8:34 PM

And really, just for shits and giggles, this might not be about suicide at all...

This looks like creating my own misery to me. It is just possible it is allegory for that part of my experience:

As the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous states:
"We are sure God wants us to be happy, joyous, and free. We cannot subscribe to the belief that this life is a veil of tears, though it once was just that for many of us. But it is clear we made our own misery. God didn't do it. Avoid then the deliberate manufacture of misery, but if trouble comes, cheerfully capitalize it as an opportunity to demonstrate His omnipotence."
I must say, that cheerful part has always been difficult for me.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

More Practice - Reprise

David Joseph Bohm (20 December 1917 – 27 October 1992) was an American-born British quantum physicist who contributed to theoretical physics, philosophy, neuropsychology, and the Manhattan Project.
David writes: "Another aspect of the whole truth must be the perception that there is no fundamental difference of "inner" and "outer." One must see that ones own feelings, aches, desires, ambitions, fears, etc., are no more important in a fundamental sense than are those of other people, and that all of these "inner" workings are just going on in the same way that it rains and the sun shines. This is also very hard, but if one doesn't see it, then one is confused, and can only perceive truth in its fragmentary form, and not as a totality.

I have tried working at the latter problem, and after some work, I occasionally got a glimpse in which one felt that reality is in a different dimension. In this new set of dimensions, one saw that the inner and the outer are basically one. However, this glimpse lasted for only a moment. I think that I saw why it didn't last. In this state of unity of "inner" and "outer," the new truth starts to operate. But this operation implies a totally different kind of action - an openness that is at variance with all the norms of common life. It also makes one very vulnerable, as nothing can be kept from oneself or concealed. To continue in such a state would require a kind of love that does not exist in me, and that probably exists in very few people. So fundamentally, our understanding is limited by the absence of love. Understanding without love is impossible, as is love without understanding."
- David Bohm
Bohm-Biederman Correspondence
[a collection of letters exchanged between a theoretical physicist and an artist]
More Practice

You said it is how
the world is made, that the slow
sad songs are easy
to play, while the bright
glad songs just take more practice
and are more mature.
You said I like sad
because I am afraid joy
will break me open.

What do you know of me
to say such things?

Written February 12, 2009 9:37 AM
First Posted, September 15, 2009

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Other Flight

The Fall of Icarus, 17th century, Musée Antoine Vivenel

Three Word Wednesday gives us the following words:

Adapt; verb: Make (something) suitable for a new use or purpose; modify; become adjusted to a new condition; alter (a text) to make it suitable for filming, broadcasting or the stage.

Glide; verb: Move with a smooth continuous motion, typically with little noise; fly through the air with very little movement of the wings; noun: A smooth continuous movement.

Lie; verb: (of a person or animal) be in or assume a horizontal or resting position on a supporting surface; be, remain, or be kept in a specified state; noun: The way, direction, or position in which something lies.

Wiki says: In Greek mythology, Icarus is the son of the master craftsman Daedalus. The main story told about Icarus is his attempt to escape from Crete by means of wings that his father constructed from feathers and wax. He ignored instructions not to fly too close to the sun, and the melting wax caused him to fall to his death. The myth shares thematic similarities with that of Phaëton — both are usually taken as tragic examples of hubris or failed ambition — and is often depicted in art. Today, the Hellenic Air Force Academy is named after Icarus, who is seen as the mythical pioneer in Greece's attempt to conquer the skies.

Icarus's father, Daedalus, a talented and remarkable Athenian craftsman, attempted to escape from his exile in the palace of Knossos, Crete, where he and his son were imprisoned at the hands of King Minos, the king for whom he had built the Labyrinth to imprison the Minotaur (half man, half bull). Daedalus, the superior craftsman, was exiled because he gave Minos' daughter, Ariadne, a clew (or ball of string) in order to help Theseus, the enemy of Minos, survive the Labyrinth and defeat the Minotaur.

The Myth:
Daedalus fashioned two pairs of wings out of wax and feathers for himself and his son. Before they took off from the island, Daedalus warned his son not to fly too close to the sun, nor too close to the sea. Overcome by the giddiness that flying lent him, Icarus soared through the sky curiously, but in the process he came too close to the sun, which melted the wax. Icarus kept flapping his wings but soon realized that he had no feathers left and that he was only flapping his bare arms. And so, Icarus fell into the sea in the area which bears his name, the Icarian Sea near Icaria, an island southwest of Samos. It also has been said he flew too close to the sea and the feathers got wet, no longer working due to added weight.

Hellenistic writers give euhemerising ( Christopher's note: eu·he·mer·ism, n. A theory attributing the origin of the gods to the deification of historical heroes.
[After Euhemerus, fourth-century b.c. Greek philosopher.] )variants in which the escape from Crete was actually by boat, provided by Pasiphaë, for which Daedalus invented the first sails, to outstrip Minos' pursuing galleys, and that Icarus fell overboard en route to Sicily and drowned. Heracles erected a tomb for him.

The Other Flight

"I'll adapt your face
to my fist", he said to me,
cold bitter venom voiced.

I lept from the edge
stretching out to glide on wings,
feathers and wax framed,
fastened to my back.

He stood, shaking with fury.
He believes I'll lie
with his lover soon,
that I've stolen her. He's right.
She's waiting for me.

Written just now for 3WW,
Wednesday, August 24, 2011 6:58 PM

Now click on "Three Word Wednesday" at the top of this post and go there for all the other postings.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Artful Dodger

Watercolour of The Artful Dodger from Oliver Twist by 'Kyd' (Joseph Clayton Clarke) ca. 1890

Wiki says: Jack Dawkins, better known as the Artful Dodger, is a character in the Charles Dicken's novel, Oliver Twist. Dodger is a pickpocket, so called for his skill and cunning in that respect. As a result he has become the leader of the gang of child criminals, trained by the elderly Fagin. He becomes Oliver's closest friend (although he betrays him when Oliver was mistakenly caught) and he tries to make him a pickpocket, but soon realizes that Oliver won't, and feels sorry for him saying "What a pity ain't a prig!". He also has a close relationship with Charley Bates. Ultimately the Dodger is caught with a stolen silver snuff box and presumably sent to a penal colony in Australia (only alluded to in the novel). The Dodger chooses to consider himself a "victim of society," roaring in the courtroom "I am an Englishman; where are my rights?" The judge has little patience with the Dodger's posturing, and orders him out of the courtroom immediately after the jury convicts him of the theft. Dickens describes him this way:

"With these last words, the Dodger suffered himself to be led off by the collar, threatening, till he got into the yard, to make a parliamentary business of it, and then grinning in the officer's face, with great glee and self-approval."

"He was a snub-nosed, flat-browed, common-faced boy enough; and as dirty a juvenile as one would wish to see; but he had about him all the airs and manners of a man. He was short of his age: with rather bow-legs, and little, sharp, ugly eyes. His hat was stuck on the top of his head so lightly, that it threatened to fall off every moment--and would have done so, very often, if the wearer had not had a knack of every now and then giving his head a sudden twitch, which brought it back to its old place again. He wore a man's coat, which reached nearly to his heels. He had turned the cuffs back, half-way up his arm, to get his hands out of the sleeves: apparently with the ultimated view of thrusting them into the pockets of his corduroy trousers; for there he kept them. He was, altogether, as roystering and swaggering a young gentleman as ever stood four feet six, or something less, in the bluchers."

The nickname "Artful Dodger" is still commonly used to refer to someone who is good at avoiding responsibility or the consequences of his or her actions.

The Artful Dodger

Rebellion tongs dog
my every step,
snapping my ankles as if
my very dry bones
are too offensive
to leave me alone steaming
in my own robust
caldron, stewing poop
left by that damn elephant
they gave me, the prize
for being so good
at the science of dodging.

August 23, 2011 7:22 PM

Monday, August 22, 2011

Itchy Condition - Reprise

Bears do this all over the world. This brown bear was scratching in a summer Finland forest.

Speaking of itching. I bought some stuff on line. One of the things I bought is a telescoping stainless steel back scratcher. Sometimes a well scratched back is better than sex. (I have not changed. I wrote that "better than sex opinion" in the first posting back in 2009. I just told someone this today. He figured that's because I am too old. Maybe. My wife thought I was a reincarnated bear. Maybe.)

Itchy Condition

I've kept this long search
going because I've felt so
strange standing still here.
I've made a good nest
and the wind breaks well around
the walls but I itch,
hanker after ways
I heard you went, others go.
I want a good scratch.

February 15, 2009 9:48 AM
First posted October 6, 2009

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Friendship Rules!

I chose to hang too long in the late evening cool of the day with some friends and have run out of time basking in the love of friends for each other. I will not do my usual thing. I need to say though that many of you in blog blog land (like Never Never Land) have my friendship, affection and love. You guys probably know who you are. If you think you might be one I would say I love you to, you are probably right. I am way too easy. :D

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Holding You - Reprise No. 2

Heart Disease Death Rates, 1999–2003
Adults Ages 35 Years and Older, by County

Today my health came up in a new way. I noticed my legs are weak. I used a cane for part of the day to add a point of contact with the planet. Yesterday I did a lot of ladder work and at the end of the day was just too exhausted to really function. Because I am not exercising that much my legs should have come up sore today in that way that muscles do when overworked of a sudden in one day. It didn't happen. I have no soreness at all. This means my legs are strong enough for what I did but also something else. The normal ways of my body that I have been used to all my life are no longer true. I no longer build up muscles because my heart can't pump enough blood to do that. Holy shit.

This is called "atrial fibrillation coupled with diastolic heart failure." Add to it that I have a stent in the lower run of the "Right Coronary Artery", which is a stroke risk. That was the outcome of the first heart event a few years ago, a clogged artery even though my cholesterol numbers have always been good. I guess that is why when the docs talked to me about exercise they said "as tolerated" and later only suggested walking. I am not so far gone that they feel the need to force anything but they realize I have new limits. I have to take diuretics daily in order to keep the water retention down in critical tissues like around my lungs somehow. If I don't I feel like I am dying of lack of oxygen. They say it is not true in the bottom line sense because my blood always seems fully oxygenated but it is true in some sense and leads to desperate living when the symptoms are going on.

I am not complaining really because I am at peace even though I am a high risk man for stroking out. Both pieces of my heart trouble, the blocked artery and the heart failure lead to strokes. The docs say the heart won't kill me directly, most likely, so we are working to minimize stroke risk. Brother Death is not my enemy. I notice too that I am building an ever higher tolerance to pain and that's a very good thing because I hope to live in peace the rest of my days. That is difficult to accomplish when you need to fight your own body.

So this post of 2009 before any of the heart stuff had occurred still rings true for me, not just in the stress of a one day nose dive as this post describes but also in the longer haul of old age.

I reprised this back in March and wanted to again because it fits with my health tonight. I like this post that much.

I had a harsh morning and a relentless afternoon, then I went to a meeting and found out that there were many people struggling harder than I am with these issues of mine. I came home and realized that the next poem simply wasn't one I would post, so I skipped it and came to this one.

Tonight I miss my cat, and with that the tiny little hooks that lead to all the other lost cats, the wife, the mom, the dad, the many friends, all gone now. Thank God I know what to do. I have done it, am doing it. As my friend Vivian says, Relentless Forward Movement. That came from her extreme marathon running husband. He's gone now too, a heart event that occurred at the end of a mountain marathon. He finished, and finished well, but then he died, too far from the medics who could have saved him had they been able to get there. Relentless Forward Movement.

I am in between a rock and a hard place. Nothing new. Same old. Yet this time is new if the stuff in it isn't and I will go on. Of course I will. I am not alone. Nor are you.

Holding You

Spidersilk, silver
and stronger than beautiful
holds you as I spun
for you before this
life in another, knew you
then, knew you would need
it now, my princess.

February 10, 2009 2:48 PM

Thursday, August 18, 2011

On The Lam - Reprise

Fugitive African Americans Fording the Rappahannock River. Rappahannock, Virginia, August 1862

It could be said of these slaves, who are now outlaws at least in the Confederacy, that they are "on the lam".

"On the lam" is not used much any more. "Lam" is an old word, coming into English with the Vikings who colonized the North of England and it is mainly connected to the idea of striking or beating or thrashing. Someone has suggested that "going on the lam" is akin to "beat it". If that is the case then it is slang deriving from other slang. "On the lam" is still apparently an outlaw phrase. At least most Americans have heard and understand it when it is used.
(Added this evening)

I have run into this all my life. When things get hairy, I lose stuff. I don't mean I lose stuff because things got hairy, not stuff obviously connected, but other stuff, even really weird stuff. The divorce is grinding along and something happens and all of a sudden I have clipped a car, grabbing the rear bumper by my license plate holder. That was just enough to break that car loose, caused a bad head on further down and I lost my license holder. I was in a place I would never have been had I not been losing my wife. I lost a bunch there even though the car came out okay and I wasn't even cited. The other driver was speeding way fast. It was obvious that was what had happened. But it still haunts me. More often the loss is simpler. Here it's shoes.

On The Lam

I lost my damn shoe,
Made it hard to toe the line
But I had to run
And it just came off.

When you run from the dope cops
Sometimes it happens
like that. Jumped fences,
Hid in back yards, under trucks,
Threw the other shoe
Away, saved my life.


Threw the other shoe away and saved my life....sacrifice as a sacred act under duress leads to divine intervention. Whether it really does or not, that is the intent of sacrifice, no matter when and where it appears in the spiritual walks that we do as people intent on a relationship with God. The price of that relationship is simply there. I have had a lifelong struggle with the cost of having God in my life. It seems a true thing. It happens in my life whether I like the idea or not. It is equally true that the idea of enforced loss revolts me, and I do revolt. Then when things happen too fast I end up inadvertently sacrificing, by accident. I just am not capable enough to keep my shit. Damn it.

Poem Written December 21, 2008
Commentary written and this blog First Posted, April 3, 2009

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

At The Rehearsal

Over at Three Word Wednesday Thom gave us these three words:
Gasp; verb: Inhale suddenly with the mouth open, out of pain or astonishment; strain to take a deep breath; noun: A convulsive catching of breath.

Mute; adjective: Refraining from speech or temporarily speechless; not expressed in speech; characterized by an absence of sound, quiet; noun: A person without the power of speech; verb: Deaden, muffle or soften the sound of; reduce the strength or intensity of (something).

Viable; adjective: Capable of working successfully, feasible.
Looking in my big old Webster's, I found the following:
Gasp is a homegrown Middle English word perhaps associated to Old Norse geispa, yawn, and an Old English word that also meant yawn, thus leading to the idea that the original gasps arise in yawns, which they certainly do, but of course the peaceable yawn gasp is no longer the only kind of sudden inhale and gasp nowadays heads toward the frantic or the startled and even the mortal as the dying often gasp their last breaths. One's last breath may well be a yawn which fails to complete itself as a yawn.

Mute is an ancient word which is old enough to have a Sanskrit cognate muka which means an inarticulate sound or a garble (where meaning should have occurred) thus there is an Indo-European source which leads everywhere throughout the later language streams, Sanskrit, Greek, Germanic and Latin. In Old High German the word mawen retains kinship by being the word for crying out or shrieking, again at least inarticulate. Thus the idea "should be able to speak, have meaning, but cannot, does not" is so important that the idea of "mute" has been connected to its own sound and has not fundamentally changed for over seven thousand years in dozens of languages and dialects. Recently even in music "mute" is now a device that dulls and muffles a trumpet's blare and most modern bands with brass members include muted trumpet passages in their music.

Viable comes to English through Middle French where vie already stood for life, itself coming from Latin vita meaning the same. -Able as a suffix is actually present in Old French, coming from Latin suffixes meaning almost exactly what "able" as a word alone means in Modern English. "Able" oddly enough is directly connected through its etymology to "habit". Thus I would add to the "viable" meaning that it is not just cabable of working but of doing so over and over, not just feasible at this moment but for the foreseeable duration. Thus if you want to use "viable" to only mean "for a short time" you have to add qualifiers to signify truncated duration which is otherwise more open ended.
At The Rehearsal

If you gasp your last
in front of me, I would ask
that you at least give
first trumpet orders
to begin using his mute-
to stop blaring forth
the theme right into
my tender slivers of song,
blowing them beyond
all viable use
even though I've harmonized
just right, made them fly.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Sleepwalker - Reprise

Sleepwalking, also known as somnambulism, is a sleep disorder belonging to the parasomnia family. Sleepwalkers arise from the slow wave sleep stage in a state of low consciousness and perform activities that are usually performed during a state of full consciousness. These activities can be as benign as sitting up in bed, walking to the bathroom, and cleaning, or as hazardous as cooking, driving, extremely violent gestures, grabbing at hallucinated objects, or even homicide.

Although generally sleepwalking cases consist of simple, repeated behaviours, there are occasionally reports of people performing complex behaviours while asleep, although their legitimacy is often disputed. In 2004, sleep medicine experts in Australia claimed to have successfully treated a woman who claimed to have sex with strangers in her sleep. In December 2008, reports were published of a woman who sent semi-coherent emails while sleepwalking, including one inviting a friend around for dinner and drinks. Sleepwalkers often have little or no memory of the incident, as they are not truly conscious. Although their eyes are open, their expression is dim and glazed over. Sleepwalking may last as little as 30 seconds or as long as 30 minutes.


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

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

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

Written February 8, 2009 12:07 PM
First Posted, August 23, 2009

Sunday, August 14, 2011

My Last Diet

The Five Things We Cannot Change: And the Happiness We Find by Embracing Them - by David Richo

"A lucid, thought-provoking, and illuminating book about the realities of human existence—a wonderfully useful guide to fluid acceptance of life as it is."—Martha Beck, author of Finding Your Own North Star and The Joy Diet

"I started highlighting splendid passages in this book and my highlighter ran dry. The whole book is splendid."—Brother David Steindl-Rast

Why is it that despite our best efforts, many of us remain fundamentally unhappy and unfulfilled in our lives? In this provocative and inspiring book, David Richo distills thirty years of experience as a therapist to explain the underlying roots of unhappiness—and the surprising secret to finding freedom and fulfillment. There are certain facts of life that we cannot change—the unavoidable "givens" of human existence:
(1) everything changes and ends, including you and me,
(2) things do not always go according to plan,
(3) life is not always fair,
(4) pain is a part of life,
(5) people are not loving and loyal all the time.
Richo shows us that by dropping our deep-seated resistance to these givens, we can find liberation and discover the true richness that life has to offer. Blending Western psychology and Eastern spirituality, including practical exercises, Richo shows us how to open up to our lives—including to what is frightening, painful, or disappointing—and discover our greatest gifts.
"Mindful presence means that one person enters the interior garden of the other and walks through it without trampling any of the flowers, without blaming anyone for the presence of weeds, with great appreciation for all the time, pain, and growth it took to be the way it is." (The Five Things We Cannot Change, pg.56)
David Richo, Ph.D., M.F.T., is a psychotherapist, teacher, workshop leader, and writer who works in Santa Barbara and San Francisco California. He combines Jungian, transpersonal, and mythic perspectives in his work.

**I like the quote and include the stuff about Richo and his book for what it is worth.**

My Last Diet

I dreamed all I had
and when I woke, was thinning
down as the dream left,
taking the bloated
parts of me very gently
away, little by
this as if I could
walk away from all the fat,
weighs me this far down.

December 14, 2009 8:10 PM

Color Blind

Color Blindness -
What is color blindness?

Color blindness means you have trouble seeing red, green, or blue or a mix of these colors. It’s rare that a person sees no color at all.

Color blindness is also called a color vision problem.

A color vision problem can change your life. It makes it harder to learn and read, and you may not be able to have certain careers. But children and adults with color vision problems can learn to make up for their problems seeing color.

What causes color blindness?

Most color vision problems are inherited (genetic) and are present at birth.

People usually have three types of cone cells in the eye. Each type senses either red, green, or blue light. You see color when your cone cells sense different amounts of these three basic colors. Most cone cells are found in the macula, which is the central part of the retina.

Inherited color blindness happens when you don't have one of these types of cone cells or they don't work right. You may not see one of these three basic colors, or you may see a different shade of that color or a different color. This type of color vision problem doesn't change over time.

A color vision problem is not always inherited. In some cases, a person can have an acquired color vision problem. This can be caused by:

Eye problems, such as glaucoma, macular degeneration, cataracts, or diabetic retinopathy.
Injury to the eye.
Side effects of some medicines.

Color Blindness In Humans: An X-Linked Trait
Note: This Is Sometimes Called A Sex-linked Trait
Test Yourself With The Table Below
Numbers That You Should See If You Are In One Of The Following
Four Categories: [Some Letter Choices Show No Visible Numbers]

4 Sex-Linked Traits:

1. Normal Color Vision:
A: 29, B: 45, C: --, D: 26

2. Red-Green Color-Blind:
A: 70, B: --, C: 5, D: --

3. Red Color-blind:
A: 70, B: --, C: 5, D: 6

4. Green Color-Blind:
A: 70, B: --, C: 5, D: 2

Color Blind

You said you must be
color blind, that explains it,
that explains how you
reach past my heart, then
pluck the world beyond my ken
and leave me loosely
bound to ground beneath
your gentle lovely notice,
grayed out in your place.

December 14, 2009 7:15 PM

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Angel Wind

Philip David Charles "Phil" Collins, LVO (born 30 January 1951) is an English singer-songwriter, drummer, pianist and actor best known as a drummer and vocalist for English progressive rock group Genesis and as a solo artist.

Collins sang the lead vocals on several chart hits in the United Kingdom and the United States between 1978 and 1994, either as a solo artist or with Genesis. His singles, often dealing with lost love, ranged from the drum-heavy "In the Air Tonight", dance pop of "Sussudio", piano-driven "Against All Odds", to the political statements of "Another Day in Paradise". His international popularity transformed Genesis from a progressive rock group to a regular on the pop charts and an early MTV mainstay.

Collins's professional music career began as a drummer, first with Flaming Youth and then more famously with Genesis. In Genesis, Collins originally supplied backing vocals for front man Peter Gabriel, singing lead on only two songs: "For Absent Friends" from 1971's Nursery Cryme album and "More Fool Me" from Selling England by the Pound, which was released in 1973. Following Gabriel's departure in 1975, Collins became the group's lead singer. As the decade closed, Genesis's first international hit, "Follow You, Follow Me", demonstrated a drastic change from the band's early years.

His solo career, heavily influenced by his personal life, brought both him and Genesis commercial success. According to Atlantic Records, Collins's total worldwide sales as a solo artist, as of 2000, were 150 million. He has won seven Grammy Awards, an Academy Award, and two Golden Globes for his solo work. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Genesis in 2010.

Collins is one of only three recording artists (along with Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson) who have sold over 100 million albums worldwide both as solo artists and (separately) as principal members of a band. When his work with Genesis, his work with other artists, as well as his solo career is totalled, Collins had more top 40 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 chart during the 1980s than any other artist. In 2008, Collins was ranked the 22nd most successful artist on the "The Billboard Hot 100 Top All-Time Artists".

Phil has basically retired.
In The Air Tonight - Phil Collins

I can feel it coming in the air tonight, oh lord
Ive been waiting for this moment, all my life, oh lord
Can you feel it coming in the air tonight, oh lord, oh lord

Well, if you told me you were drowning
I would not lend a hand
Ive seen your face before my friend
But I dont know if you know who I am
Well, I was there and I saw what you did
I saw it with my own two eyes
So you can wipe off the grin, I know where youve been
Its all been a pack of lies

And I can feel it coming in the air tonight, oh lord
Ive been waiting for this moment for all my life, oh lord
I can feel it in the air tonight, oh lord, oh lord
And Ive been waiting for this moment all my life, oh lord, oh lord

Well I remember, I remember dont worry
How could I ever forget, its the first time, the last time we ever met
But I know the reason why you keep your silence up, no you dont fool me
The hurt doesnt show; but the pain still grows
Its no stranger to you or me
Phil claimed to write this one on the fly while in the midst of an angry divorce. This is one of the songs that has an urban legend, that Phil witnessed a drowning and a man who would not save his friend as he drowned. He has denied this legend. I remember this song used in a film about defection from Russia so I have always tied the song to that sort of intrigue. It is hands down one of my favorites.

Angel Wind

If I touched you like
this, right here behind the bone
you would fall for me
and lose all your spleen,
for just this one moment fly
with me to the high
places, the sweet clear
air, ride the gust of angel
wind and from this place
you would see it all.

December 13, 2009 12:41 PM

Friday, August 12, 2011

My Need For Fire

I sometimes chew on these ideas, ideas like soul mates, like what it means to commit to a soul mate and then lose her. Twice now I have lost my soul's mate in this lifetime. The pain is exquisite and then the question too is exquisite. If I have found my soul mate but she does not agree with me and departs, or if some illness takes her, then what has happened? Am I mad? I don't think so, but neither do I dare to create explanations. Instead I rejoin the dance.

My Need For Fire

I accept my need
so I've built a sacred fire
as you taught me to.
Now I begin slow
dancing with my lambent dream
around the bright blaze
that holds me here
life after long life as I
chase that flare of flame
where we first appeared.

December 13, 2009 4:33 AM
Rewritten ‎August ‎12, ‎2011 4:19 PM

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Outlaw Road

Wiki says: John Wesley Hardin, aka JH Swain, Young Seven Up, Little Arkansaw, (May 26, 1853—August 19, 1895) was an outlaw and gunfighter of the American Old West. He was born in Bonham, Fannin County, Texas. When Hardin went to prison in 1878, he claimed to have killed 42 men, but a considerably lesser number of these killings have been documented as actually attributable to him. Hardin's criminal career resulted not only in the deaths of his victims but also in the deaths of his brother Joe and two cousins who were hanged by a lynch mob seeking revenge for a Hardin killing.

Hardin eventually spent 16 years in prison, then stood for and passed the Bar to become a lawyer. It is possible he committed one more murder after his release from prison. Then after an argument and as a result of it while Hardin was in a saloon gambling with dice, he was shot in the back of the head and killed and then shot three more times. The man who shot him got off due to a hung jury, but was himself killed in a shootout a year later. The man who killed the man who killed Hardin, was himself mortally wounded in a gunfight with two robbers some four years after that. The old west was a cool place, no? This all happened in the 1890's. And a common thing to do, here's proof John was shot dead. See two bullet holes in him, two of the three others, since the kill shot was in the back of his head. Also it looks like an old scar on his chest. Was he branded?

The Outlaw Road

I've been crossing thin
ice above sectarian
water longer than
wise in this old world,
reptilian rage lurking
beneath the wasted
words that bounce off words
grinding it all down to bone
while I continue
to skate and slide on
ahead of the spreading cracks
as fast as I can.

December 11, 2009 9:22 PM

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Passing It On

The site is Three Word Wednesday.

This week's words:
Drench; verb: Wet thoroughly, soak; forcibly administer a drug in liquid form orally to (an animal); noun: A dose of medicine administered to an animal.

Immune; adjective: Resistant to a particular infection or toxin owing to the specific presence of antibodies or white blood cells; protected or exempt, especially from an obligation or the effects of something.

Radiate; verb: emit (energy, especially light or heat) in the form of waves or rays or be emitted in such a way or (of a person) clearly emanate (a strong feeling or quality) through their expression or bearing; adjective: Having rays or parts proceeding from a center, arranged in or having a radical pattern.
In my Webster's Unabridged I got the following information.

The etymology of drench is Germanic and Norse and the word is more strongly verb than noun. One drenches the world more than one is a drench. Also, the sense of drench is to drink as a large volume is drunk more than to be immersed, as in a bath. The word carries an overthrow of all measure, akin to flood more than to dose. Further, the word carries a participatory aspect. One drenches another purposefully and thus the tie both to medicine (or poison) and to veterinary, where the lines of power are more clear between the one who drenches and the other who is drenched. The word is used more from the aspect of the person in power.

One way the word drench has been used takes it out of realm of liquid and liquid medicine and places it in the flow of heart and mood - thus I can drench the world with my person or presence if I am large enough and if I am not then you may drench me with your love and save me, revealing your presence in my life larger than my life by itself.

Immune is a direct descent from Latin: in + munis meaning exempt from public service. Thus a sense of the massive commons of susceptibility and the unique and singular state of freedom of the immune. The breathtaking arrogance of the medical community then is the reversal of things when we eradicate disease through immunizations.

Radiate also is a Latin descendant, a past participle in this form and it suggests both the center that must be mainly the source of emission or secondarily the calling back that brings about the return of things that tend to travel in defined and usually straight lines. A participle is a "small part" and thus radiate is better as a supporting feature than as a primary quality.

Passing It On

I shall rise to my station
and there dissolve me
becoming the flood
that rushes back to drench
your common places.

You shall then rise up,
full, immune, and find your way,
your bright life renewed.

Now the shine of stars,
you shall radiate brilliance,
and release your joy
as light for the rest.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Here Is One Way

Wiki says: Edward Paul Abbey (January 29, 1927 – March 14, 1989) was an American author and essayist noted for his advocacy of environmental issues, criticism of public land policies, and anarchist political views. His best-known works include the novel The Monkey Wrench Gang, which has been cited as an inspiration by radical environmental groups, and the non-fiction work Desert Solitaire. Writer Larry McMurtry referred to Abbey as the "Thoreau of the American West".
"I am pleased enough with the surfaces - in fact they alone seem to me to be of much importance. Such things for example as the grasp of a child's hand in your own, the flavor of an apple, the embrace of a friend or lover, the silk of a girl's thigh, the sunlight on the rock and leaves, the feel of music, the bark of a tree, the abrasion of granite and sand, the plunge of clear water into a pool, the face of the wind - what else is there? What else do we need?" - Edward Abbey
Edward Abbey was the consummate activist Hippie, a certain kind of counter culture guy. When you put it like that it is hard to argue. And I will not. Instead I will observe that such a statement is only really possible for one who has found his place here and by here I mean right here and right now. Every time I am reconciled and right here and right now, I find it possible to say some part of the world is enough for me too. What is also true, I am often not reconciled, or I am not right here, or I am just not right now and there is little I can do about that. I know I am not alone.

I claim I wrestle with angels or with God. I am right here and right now when I do that too, but I am certainly not reconciled.

I notice Ed Abbey was not reconciled in the sense that he could not accept what others were doing to this place or what it turned into after they had done it. Thus he was not reconciled with humanity as it is. That kind of unrest may be necessary but there will be a difference between the man who makes a higher peace and returns to the restless work and the man who delays his peace as a sacrifice in order to continue the work at the price of his restlessness. I hope that Ed was the former rather than the latter for his own sake.

I will trust that Ed was not the third, the unfortunate kind, the man who takes on the work in order to buttress a false pride. There are far too many of them and they tend to ruin the work because it is impossible to hold a true course with false pride.

Here Is One Way

Sometimes coyote
howls with such truth and purpose
that she builds a track
out to the low moon
on the horizon of things,
a spinning gold path
of bright filigree
lighter than air but stronger
than any of us.

If we want to walk
her path it will take the smoke,
the sage, our own howl,
releasing the old
and tangled remembrances,
and the heart's return.

August 9, 2011 2:57 PM

Monday, August 8, 2011

A Hell Of A Life - Reprise

A Hell Of A Life

I'm all hung up,
Thrown high up over a wire,
The butt of a prank.
I am upside down,
Hanging head down and dangling
And I can't get down.
Come back years from now.
I'll still be here, just grayer,
A hell of a life.

Written November 27, 2008
First Posted, February 27, 2009

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Past The Moon-Reprise

I want to write you healed and found as if I could write thus and by writing make it so. I also want to write you healed and found because you are not and are lost and perhaps in need of a poem from one who loves you. I want you lifted on angelic wings. This I want if you wish to rise. I see this incantation as a statement of power, as if I had this power. I insist.

I am an arrogant man.

Past The Moon

I want to write you
healed and found, lifted higher
than you thought you would
go this very night.

I want your vision to clear
so you remember
who you really are,
no, not then but beyond that
history you told
to the history
you don't speak of now because
it goes past the moon.

Written February 12, 2009 9:20 AM
First Posted September 12, 2009

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Life As A Poem

‎"To see life as a poem and yourself participating in that poem is what the myth does for you." - from Joseph Campbell and The Power of Myth with Bill Moyers, p.55

I do in fact live my life as a myth...

Joe was passionate about the myth of the Hero. He felt that only that kind of risk could lead to bliss. Being a Hero in the mythological sense is naturally risky, leads into uncharted territory. Often you don't get company on your journey either because most people (and quite often rightly so) just don't get what you are doing, let alone why they should participate.

Taking the chance, you don't always win, not even in the end. If that risk wasn't there it would not be a Hero's journey. Even if you lose, if you take the risk your life will be worthy of poesy.


My back is shattered
in that one specific place,
my marrow's leaking
and I fear dying
while that nerve trunk flames with pain
and nightly I moan
as I rest twisted
in the only position
left to me these days.
They said this price comes
of once loving you, loving
your naked body.
I ask myself if
I'd love you over again,
and keep my answer.

December 10, 2009 11:00 AM

To be straight up - this is an allegory. :D Can't catch me! I'm running faster than that!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Thoughts Of Home

Justic Oliver Wendell Holmes, ca. 1902

My friend the Taoist Harlequin shared on her blog a quote by Oliver Wendell Holmes. I understand the sentiment and she's a lovely friend I have met here in blogland. She's a fine English lady. I know she's a fine lady, and I believe she is English. You may visit this post as an intro to her long running site. Go here.

Holmes wrote and Harlequin posted:
And where we love is home,
Home that our feet may leave, but not our hearts.
The chain may lengthen, but it never parts.
Wiki says:

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. (March 8, 1841 – March 6, 1935) was an American jurist who served as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States from 1902 to 1932. Noted for his long service, his concise and pithy opinions, and his deference to the decisions of elected legislatures, he is one of the most widely cited United States Supreme Court justices in history, particularly for his "clear and present danger" majority opinion in the 1919 case of Schenck v. United States, and is one of the most influential American common law judges. Holmes retired from the Court at the age of 90, making him the oldest Justice in the Supreme Court's history. He also served as an Associate Justice and as Chief Justice on the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, and was Weld Professor of Law at the Harvard Law School, of which he was an alumnus.

Profoundly influenced by his experience fighting in the American Civil War, Holmes helped move American legal thinking away from formalism and towards legal realism, as summed up in his maxim: "The life of the law has not been logic; it has been experience."

As for me, Mom and Dad ripped me out of home the first time as I entered fourth grade, and then again as I entered eighth, both of these moves involving the loss of a best friend. I was inconsolable both times and never trusted the idea of home again. Home is where they do awful things against your will unless you have the power, and even then something can happen. My third grade friend was lost until by miracle I found him on Facebook this year, my sixty-fifth on the planet.

Mom and Dad actually began moving me earlier than that but it did not give me trauma.

Here's a poem I wrote tonight in response to the Holmes quote.

Thoughts Of Home

I stood outside them,
staring in the cold window
at them, at the food
they served each other.
I saw them hug and I saw
them struggle over
all sorts of puzzles.
I never really knew inside
what that was to me.

When my mother moved
across the country, midwest
bound, I heaved a sigh
of relief...I helped
her move willingly, hopeful
this distance would help
and it did, oh yes.
Then I could stay near to her
in my words and thought.

August 3, 2011 6:33 PM

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Reprise - With My Long Rodent Teeth

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

Grumpy Now

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

That's when I got grumpy. Hmphf!

Written February 9, 2009 9:47 AM
First Posted August 29, 2009

Monday, August 1, 2011

Under My Bed - Reprise

"To accept "things-as-it-is" looks very difficult, but it is very easy. If you don't find it easy, you should think about why it is so difficult. "Maybe," you may say, "it is because of the shallow, selfish understanding I have of myself." And then you may ask, "Why do I have a selfish understanding of things?" But a selfish understanding of things is also necessary. Because we are selfish, we work hard. Without a selfish understanding, we cannot work. We always need some candy. It is not something to be rejected, but something that helps you. You should be grateful for your selfish understanding, which creates many questions. They are just questions and they don't mean so much. You can enjoy your questions and answers; you can play games with them; you needn't be so serious about it. That is the understanding of the Middle Way." - Shunryu Suzuki

Wiki says: Shunryu Suzuki, dharma name Shōgaku Shunryū (May 18, 1904 – December 4, 1971) was a Sōtō Zen roshi (Zen Master) who popularized Zen Buddhism in the United States, particularly around San Francisco. Born in the Kanagawa Prefecture of Japan, Suzuki was occasionally mistaken for the Zen scholar D.T. Suzuki, to which Shunryu would reply, "No, he's the big Suzuki, I'm the little Suzuki."

I feel like this thought of Shogaku is like AA's Bill Wilson asserting that the heart of humility is being right sized.

I am too wordy. I know it. Back in the day, I was given the best task. I was working as a young designer in a paper mill. There was a need for a recording secretary at two regular meetings having to do with the contract construction work and the union's vested interest in the work that should belong to them. I was appointed this duty and it meant I had to write clearly and succinctly in a specialized language. I had to take a half hour or more of several people and end up not with the actual verbatim words but with the sense of them adjusted for the company spin except when the union had an adamant interest. In that case I had to downplay but not spin at all. I had to sense when which was which as well. These meetings were basically weekly. I succeeded. This is why I can write with two word sentences happily.

Also, I desire to keep a spare word count is why I am happy with my haiku line structure as my current form. I often find sentences that are smaller than seventeen syllables. Then I write these intros so I can gabble. :)

Under My Bed

My wild heart knows things
I don't know until they creep
Out from under me,
Under the bed I've made.

I keep the blankets, bedspread
Hanging down, a wall
To keep intruders
Out of my space, of my mind,
But my wild heart knows
How to get past me,
Spill stuff all over my life,
Teach my eyes to see.

Written January 10, 2009 3:23 PM
Revised a bit this evening...
First posted June 3, 2009

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