Friday, November 30, 2012

Getting Past The Crack

There is a gap in things. I first saw it quite long ago now. I was just a young man. It changed my life when I first slipped through the crack. On the other side is - censored - and I will never get there again it seems, because I have tried. Here we go again.

Getting Past The Crack

I need to slim down.

I see the crack but can't go
between the cold walls
in the shape I hold.
If I shift my shape to yours
and take your meaning
as my very own
then maybe I will just fit
and then I will squeeze
the dark out of things.

June 18, 2010 9:17 PM

Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Other Side - Reprise

Many spiritual disciplines focus on the idea of getting out of here, or what it is like once you are out of here. There are others with another opinion. The nature religions question why you would want to get out. There are social religions which focus on doing really well here and not worrying too much about what comes next. I feel, for example that Judaism tends to be like that in some of its mainstream manifestations.

I have written many times in a variety of places that while not really Buddhist, I do follow the Bodhisattva ideal, and that means no matter what I really feel about the planet, I vow to remain on the planet life after life. I don't really go anywhere unless we all do and I do whatever I can to facilitate that. Whatever "go anywhere" means. Also whatever such a vow to remain can mean in the face of forces considerably larger than I am. I feel down deep that such a vow is useful for waking up, whatever waking up means. :)

The Other Side Of The Argument

Heat flows back and forth
Within my heart, also yours
Unless you're a saint.
Climbing up the pole,
Sliding back down the same pole,
Toy clockwork monkeys.

I say sorry to God,
Know I should attempt escape,
But I cling tighter.
I guess I'm perverse.
I want to stay here today.
I have work to do.

Written November 30, 2008 9:15 AM
First posted March 3, 2009

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Getting Pushed Around - 3WW

Thom writes:
Each week, I post three words. You write something using the words.

Then come back and post a link to the contribution with Mr. Linky (but please, link to the exact post, not your blog, by clicking on the exact post title and paste it to Mr. Linky below). As always, there's no hard-and-fast rule that you have to post on Wednesday.

To link up with this week's Three Word Wednesday *click here*

This week's words:

Clench; Faint; Prod

Getting Pushed Around

I know I will clench
my jaws all over again.
A faint stench lurks in
the room. The cattle
hate the prod. Me too - better
get outta here, fat man.

November 28, 2012 4:45 AM

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

I've Come Too Late

I've Come Too Late

The crow sent her call
as a message for me to
return in full dress
as prince of the realm
in the bright sequined saddle
sitting proud, straight up.

Getting ready took
so long, and my steed so slow,
something is not right.

June 18, 2010 4:35 AM
Last line revised, November 26, 2012

Tough day yesterday... Sometimes I just hate Monday. My cat didn't like it much either when I shoved him off me a couple times in the night. As for me, I didn't sleep that good.... Going to be a long day.

Monday, November 26, 2012

On The Loss Of Our Friend - Reprise

Herbert James Draper's painting "The Lament For Icarus" produced in 1898 won the gold medal at the Exposition Universelle in Paris in 1900 and was later bought for the Tate Gallery.

Herbert James Draper (1863 – 22 September 1920) was an English Classicist painter whose career began in the Victorian era and extended through the first two decades of the 20th century.

As we age, so does everything and everyone. Departures of friends begin to be at some point, then are more frequent than arrivals. This is utterly as it should be.

On The Loss Of Our Friend

Then you are not here.
I wanted to speak with you,
To tell you the truth,
What is in my heart,
How the rain falls near our house,
How the wind blows here
Through my slowing days,
How my lady's older too,
But now you are gone.

This is the way of all things.
The leaves fade, tremble, then fall.

Written November 29, 2008 6:36 AM
First published March 1, 2009

This poem was written four years ago in the early morning one day late in November just like it is now. The coming of winter has something to do with it.

Just so you know. I was living without a lover at this time as I am still and had been for a couple years. The poem was not written in a period of actual loss but in remembrance of earlier losses and anticipation of later ones.


As a side note, it has settled down now. I no longer use the word verification. I don't know what happens to others. I have a presence on the internet due to the width and breadth and frequency of my postings. I get about twenty-twenty five spams a day. At least it is true that they all collect in one way or another, but life was so much simpler for me when I had word verification in place. Almost no spam ever gets through word verification. So. If I make you guys work a little, then I don't have to clean out my stuff several times a day. Or I can be kinder to you a little and be forced to show up several times a day to do housecleaning. Most spam collects in the spam folder. About 10% gets past that. One or two a day actually reach posts. This is ridiculous. I see why some people just omit comments entirely.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Cattleya - A Magpie Tale

Photo of the red chair offered as a prompt for the writing group by Tess Kincaid on The Mag.

Join The Mag Creative Writing Group

Cattleya is a genus of 113 species of orchids from Costa Rica to tropical South America. The genus was named in 1824 by John Lindley after Sir William Cattley who received and successfully cultivated specimens of Cattleya labiata that were used as packing material in a shipment of other orchids made by William Swainson. The genus is abbreviated C in trade journals.


You moved the red chair
to that wrecked and empty room
doing your penance
in the wet wan light
of this afternoon.

The gray
of today's heavy
weather has served us
providing solid background
for this one moment
of truth before you
run off after them, your quest
of vengeance, orchid
of the hot house land,
of the holy men and me.

Your scent is strong on my skin.

I sat in your chair
for a time after
you wrapped your things in chamois
and placed the crimson
above your gray eyes.
Try as I might, I can't grasp
it that you will leave.

This is the last time.

November 25, 2012 9:49 AM

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Steam Iron Magic

Steam Iron Magic

There's an ironing
board closet in my kitchen
and it has a board
in it I've never
used but I never thought to
treat myself like
this guy does. If I
press out my wrinkles with steam
perhaps you will love
me more than you do
and life will be wonderful
all the friggin time.

November 23, 2012 5:03 PM

Friday, November 23, 2012

The Winds Get In - Reprise

Probably the most important work I have now is the readying of my soul. I have long been committed to the Hindu notion of the soul's passage on the planet, first to become a human, then to perform as best one can as a human, then to withdraw gracefully, looking beyond human. This is best not because the spiritual stories told in support are true but because the rhythm of soul that comes of them is true. Some of the best of human in our presence on the planet comes from this kind of thing. Also some of the worst.

The Winds Get In

I sat at your fire,
Watched you lay out your palette
Of fine colored sands.
I watched as you drew
The designs you learned from him,
From the holy man.
I saw them take shape,
Amazing true shapes in sand,
In my old gray eyes.

My story is told in sand.
The flaps of this tent shiver.
The winds outside stir, get in.

Written November 29, 2008
First published March 1, 2009

Thursday, November 22, 2012

The Fire

The Fire

Here is my reply
and for sure you asked for it
as you offered me
this grand feast, steaming
and set before me, your fine
linen and sterling,
crystal goblets filled
and me in my rags even
now but look! my soul
on the sand. I sit
right here, gratitude showing
my love for you all.

November 22, 2012 10:28 AM

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Fallen Tree - 3WW

Thom writes:
Each week, I post three words. You write something using the words.

Then come back and post a link to the contribution with Mr. Linky (but please, link to the exact post, not your blog, by clicking on the exact post title and paste it to Mr. Linky below). As always, there's no hard-and-fast rule that you have to post on Wednesday.

To link up with this week's Three Word Wednesday *click here*

This week's words:

Motion; Peaceful; Vision

The Fallen Tree

Everything's in
motion and look how the sky
shines so brightly now
that the storm has stripped
the sludge all away from us.
How peaceful can you
get, how pure vision
can wash this old world and all
we had to pay was
the ancient oak in
the back of the house, toppled
straight back, crushing all
beneath it as it fell
not on us though it did kill
the mole who lived there.

November 21, 2012 4:35 AM

Today marks the anniversary of my marriage to Ann Marie Sheekley in 1975, 37 years ago. Ann died in 2001 and we had to divorce in 1997, somewhere near there. I have never felt that divorce to be a basic reality and I have not married again. I took two more women into my life, one who woke my poetry and the other who gave me back my music. I am deeply grateful to the women who found it in them to be with me.

Thomas Gainsborough's The Fallen Tree created ca. 1750-1753, now held in The Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Minnesota, USA

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Marsupial Lore

I was reading Dale Favier's poem, Close Of Day *click here* and this stanza arrested me

"Slow and ancient
marsupials are there
in the pools of light.
You can't see them but you can feel
the hesitation of their wrinkled paws,
the tremor of their slow hopeless grope.
They arch their backs
and their blind snouts
nose in the skirts of cloud."

I couldn't leave that alone. I do not intend to trash his remarkable work. Dale is among my very favorite poets. He has published and he has a following among people who believe as I do that he is a superlative poet.

Marsupial Lore

The marsupials
took Australian accents
in this stable, but
I am told elsewhere
they speak Old Russian or else
their Old High German
is better than you or I
could do from a standing start.
They all read Chaucer.

November 19, 2012 12:45 PM

Monday, November 19, 2012


Somewhere in Wales on the coast.

I was a coffee drinker for the longest time, a major flow through, several cups daily. I thought tea was not very interesting and did not really care for the flavor. In the 90's I began to notice a prostate condition, the common one that plagues older men and that in time if you don't die of something else first will eventually lead to a prostate cancer. This cancer I am told is certain but you might have to live to be two hundred for the cancer to manifest.

When the prostate was irritated it let me know. Coffee is a diuretic. My prostate let me know. That wasn't enough to stop me though.

At the time I was really getting troubled I had some other symptoms as well, allergies mainly, that I took to a homeopathic physician. He said he could help me. I had to quit coffee. He claimed the essential oils in coffee and peppermint and a few other less common things were highly antagonistic to homeopathic remedies of any kind. He said I could drink coke. It's not caffeine that is the problem. Or tea.

His remedy for me worked famously. I am still periodically troubled but nothing like I was in those days.

Now though, a decade later, my heart has failed and I live with a weakened pump stroke due to structural trouble, a thickened ventricular heart wall. My intake stroke is the shits even though the pump stroke is fine. This markedly lessens my blood flow. I have to hold down the attempt of my body to compensate by higher blood pressure. I also run major risk of stroke due to my blood's slow flow and tendency to clot. Now any illness that comes my way tends to linger because recovery is difficult. I run out of steam from that and from the pharmacy that is now a steady part of my life.

Getting old is not for the faint of heart. I think tea is wonderful.


You post rituals
using antique stamps and old
graying envelopes
though there is a scent
found in the folds of the sheet
within that is fresh
and (oh!) reminds me
of the fields and the coastlines
near your small cottage
where we took our tea.

June 13, 2010 4:52 PM

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Squall - A Magpie Tale

Squall, painted by Andrew Wyeth, 1986
from Tess at Mag 144 *click here*

The Squall

I stand in the door
taking in the weather change
still sure what to do,
how bad it will get,
part of me here rejoicing
at the coming blow,
remembering how I
said we would deserve the rage
coming down the pike,
and something in me's
just pleased that you'll come undone
in God's hairy storm.

November 18, 2012 8:32 AM

In another lifetime, had I realized it was even possible, I would have been a storm chaser.

I am deeply in love with this planet in its weather extremes. Storms fill me with joy. I am somehow completely sure no bad thing can happen to me because my instinct protects me. I am aware this is insane. I don't care. It is not that the storms do not scare me because they do scare me.

The storms evoke my passion and my heart is sure there is always a way to avoid the trap. This is like in that movie where they tied themselves to the pump piping to stay in place as the tornado went over. That scene was totally right in my experience, something that could have happened to me. In myth, this is like Odysseus tying himself to the mast rather than stopping his ears as he passed the lair of the Sirens.

Of all the chaos on the planet the events that most clearly reveal the face of a transcendent but personal God are the big storms. That is what my heart says to me. I don't for a second believe this is anything but a private message to me and perhaps to some others. That the whole of mankind struggles to control acts of God as a key theme of civilization is obviously our collective destiny.

Friday, November 16, 2012

The Edges I Have Found

We came from perfect love and to that love we will return. We are here to learn all the dimensions of imperfection and to love even so. This is completely obvious once you discover the possibility in letting go of all you fear. You cannot lose the perfect love that you came from and to which you will return. He croons to you as you fall into dream, "let go, child, and be at peace."

Om Shanti, Shanti, Shantihi.

The Edges I Have Found

The wind seeks a path
through the tangles of your hair,
through the weave of you.

I seek the way back
from the edges I have found
though this stand gives me
vistas I cannot
explain without resorting
to the old stories.

You are mystery
beyond my ken, and your scent
peels me from my bones.

June 10, 2010 8:43 PM

Thursday, November 15, 2012

A Poet's Truth - Reprise

I believe I am in a tradition. Back at the turn of the almost makes sense to write like that now...back then, I realized that my poems were songs in the biblical sense, sort of, or psalms. That sense of the holy is still with me, but deeper now. It often surfaces, sometimes straightforward, sometimes kind of off to the side, sometimes in all tongue in cheek humility and excuses for missing the mark. I believe I have been at some time or another all the things I write about or at least near when they happened to others. I am fearless in this sense, that I can identify with those spaces unashamed. So the tradition I am in is the one where we poets and seers are so familiar with god that she is lower case and lover as well as UPPER CASE and REGNANT, and in other shapes well known to be pantheist or panentheist as well as immanent and transcendant and not even here at all but still holy. So this is a guide to my symbols, that god often lurks in my poesy, or that my poems express a holy but familiar and approachable universe. If you can't be really really pissed at God, then who?

A Poet's Truth

I am pasting skies
With poems of clouds and stars,
Of suns and bright moons
In vision and ink, papers
That flutter on winds, that rise
Higher than I can,
Higher than I am allowed,
Can't write the last line.

Written November 15, 2008
First posted February 9, 2009

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Implicate Order - 3WW

Thom writes:
Each week, I post three words. You write something using the words.

Then come back and post a link to the contribution with Mr. Linky (but please, link to the exact post, not your blog, by clicking on the exact post title and paste it to Mr. Linky below). As always, there's no hard-and-fast rule that you have to post on Wednesday.

To link up with this week's Three Word Wednesday *Click Here*

This week's words:

Cause; Implicate; Stretch

*In the enfolded [or implicate] order, space and time are no longer the dominant factors determining the relationships of dependence or independence of different elements. Rather, an entirely different sort of basic connection of elements is possible, from which our ordinary notions of space and time, along with those of separately existent material particles, are abstracted as forms derived from the deeper order. These ordinary notions in fact appear in what is called the "explicate" or "unfolded" order, which is a special and distinguished form contained within the general totality of all the implicate orders (Bohm 1980, p. xv).*

David Joseph Bohm FRS (20 December 1917 – 27 October 1992) was an American quantum physicist who contributed to theoretical physics, philosophy of mind, and neuropsychology. Due to suspicions of Communism during the McCarthy era, he left the US, eventually becoming a Brazilian, and later, a British citizen. Bohm is widely considered to be one of the most significant theoretical physicists of the 20th century.

The Implicate Order

So when I fell off
the cliff and saw it all come
to bloom in the sun,
you touched my collar,
you, the cause of it, the whole
implicate order,
a stretch into light
slowed to a modest walking
pace, your drumbeat timed
to my heart's weird need -
now I'm immersed in this long
droning sacred song.

November 14, 2012 4:29 AM

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


Carrying The Light At Burning Man
Lamp lighters at Burning Man. Burning Man requires 2000 volunteers — almost all of whom also buy tickets and pay their own expenses — to run Black Rock City.

Black Rock City LLC is the company that organizes the annual week-long Burning Man festival ending on Labor Day, on the dry lake of the Black Rock Desert in northwestern Nevada. Although the organization is largely volunteer-driven, it has a for-profit form. Its mission states that its efforts are, and its primary goal is, to establish community.

Headed by a board of 6 LLC members, the company coordinates the year-round, behind-the-scenes work needed to build and remove a temporary city of more than 50,000 participants.

Event ticket sales provide a multi-million dollar budget for the organization. These revenues help the organization obtain required permits from the Bureau of Land Management, rent portable toilets and equipment, secure medical, fire, and law enforcement services, and cover other organizational expenses. The organization also holds a title to the nearby ranch used as a staging area.

Black Rock City Ranch

In 2001, the LLC purchased a ranch in Hualapai Valley, Washoe County, Nevada, for $70,000 to use as a staging area.

In 2003, permits to operate a permanent staging area on the ranch were denied according to numerous news stories. A lawsuit was filed with the effect that the 2003 event proceeded. (Apparently LLC employees and volunteers were not able to camp on the ranch but stayed elsewhere.) The resolution of the dispute was apparently not considered newsworthy, but it seems that in 2004 the LLC spent approximately $800,000 on improvements to the ranch.


When you disappear,
a ghost fading into night,
a flame too far from
the lantern's lacing,
when you turn from me like that,
I find flakes of me
come off and rise with
the perfume you leave behind,
ash of my burnt soul.

June 7, 2010 5:40 PM

Monday, November 12, 2012

Elvish Tea

Elvish Tea

Take the Elvish tea,
and set it side by side with
a steaming jade cup
of Japanese Zen.

Note the silver Elven glow
from the tiny cup
made from starry dust
formed and fired from fairy heat,
the liquid jewel
in alabaster.

I will leave the tasting test
in your loving hands,
but wish with great care.

June 2, 2010 9:55 AM

The first time I read that Bilbo and Frodo got to sail to the Lands To The West, I wept in yearning. I was yet a young man and I wanted to go too. I would have given up everything for that.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Armistice Day - A Magpie Tale

Verdun, 1917 by Felix Vallotton
from Tess at Mag 143 *click here*

World War I gave us so much pain and grief that we all decided this was the War To End All Wars It happened thus as Wiki says:
"The war to end war" (sometimes called "The war to end all wars") was a term for World War I. Originally idealistic, it is now used mainly in a disparaging way. During August 1914, immediately after the outbreak of the war, British author and social commentator H. G. Wells published a number of articles in the London newspapers that subsequently appeared as a book entitled The War That Will End War.

How's that working out, children?

Verdun as a city is thus, as Wiki says: "Verdun (Latin: Verodunum, meaning "strong fort") was founded by the Gauls (as its Celtic name shows; "Dunum" is the Latinized version of a Celtic word meaning oppidum). It has been the seat of the bishop of Verdun since the 4th century AD, with interruptions. In the Treaty of Verdun in AD 843, the empire of Charlemagne was divided into three parts."

Verdun was a military post from its beginning B.C. It was part of the Gaulish landscape before Caesar came.

The battle itself was a stagnation of the Western front that became a genuine meat grinder: "The Battle of Verdun was one of the major battles during the First World War on the Western Front. It was fought between the German and French armies, from 21 February to 18 December 1916, on hilly terrain north of the city of Verdun-sur-Meuse in north-eastern France.

"According to contemporary estimations, Verdun resulted in 714,321 casualties, 377,231 on the French side and 337,000 on the German one. An average of 70,000 casualties for each of the ten months of the battle. It was the longest and one of the most devastating battles in the First World War and the history of warfare. Modern estimations increase the number of casualties to 976,000."

Most of a million people in ten months...

Are you grieving yet? You are all, ALL guilty of this and must carry the burden! No exceptions. Do you think God does not see? Of course some of you will say, "There is obviously no God here!" Good luck.

There are absolutely no heroes here. This is beyond dispute. You would be insane to try. Any attempt to paint it in patriotic tones is beyond disgusting. No wonder someone should try to capture some of it in horror.

No wonder I might dare to try.

The War To End War

The boil swells in me
before it erupts on skin
reddened by mustard,
that gas they did use
in all their sweet love,
in grasping for what we held
after they held it
and then we held it
all over again drowned in blood
spilled on this same ground
for ten long dirty
shit filled months that stank, oh how
it stank out in front
of all that damn death.

The awareness it was happening again in Vietnam made me crazy in 1966. I quit the Army, took to drugs and to the streets, took an exile, felt joy when they jumped up and down on cars in 1972 when Nixon came to town, did not hold it peacefully together. I too, waged the war to end war. God help me, I would do it all again, trash the streets again. Sometimes I just hate it here, hate who I must be here, hate the compulsions that have driven me insane. To look full in the face a place where you could literally drown in the blood and blasted offal of the whole world, that should be the meaning of Armistice (now Veteran's Day).

And then, after first knowing that, smelling, hearing and feeling that, because there are really people who survive this, and we are ALL guilty of it, such that ALL who survive it are equally perpetrators and victims, should we not weep, weep, and weep again? I have wept and raged and then run away, grateful that I could go years without thought of it.

And of course in the end we do not forget, some of us - maybe in the end ALL of us.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

The Voices

"Hearing voices no one else can hear isn't a good sign, even in the wizarding world." - J. K. Rowling, Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets, 1999

The Voices

I have less control
than I used to, my lovie,
and I keep floating
off this frozen ground
because my feet tingle brown
and the scent of peach
keeps assaulting me.
I have tied a rope to me
and to the fat stake
I pounded into
your gated front yard hoping
the voices will stop.

November 10, 2012 2:07 PM

Friday, November 9, 2012

Life Is Hard

Life Is Hard, Man
And Then You Die

The last time I saw
you weaving your way around
this tiresome shit town
you were too too high
and couldn't really talk much
about what you needed
from me or what else
you might want from the old crowd
that is anyway
not much around here
these days. Some have died you know.
Too much bad around.
I'm headed out too.
Soon you'll be all alone here,
you and your bad brain.

‎November ‎9, ‎2012 12:36 PM

Kudos and my thanks to my friend Wander who posted the really really dark poem (he says it is only a little dark, and anyway he has more planned for the character in it) that spawned this one. *Click Here* for that particular blog post.

Baiting The Bear

Sometimes you just have to do it... sometimes it has to be done. The possibilities are just too rich to let it all alone. I've been on both sides of this. I bet you have too.

Baiting The Bear

Let's see. If I poke
you right here, or how about
right there, or whisper
some shit about him,
or let some noxious odor
loose so carefully
you can't tell it's me,
then can I get you to crack
open one more time?

May 31, 2010 7:30 PM

Thursday, November 8, 2012


The spiritual truth is like this, buried under great weights like this within my soul and yours, waiting for the melt water to flow, the ice to melt further, releasing the land beneath as the sea rises. So does the land, with it's ice blanket thrown back. So does the height of my soul and yours rise up to their original shape, piercing the veil of heaven and finding the light as it always was. We shall step through the final gate and there understand how we truly are, how we have always been in attendance, present and standing under the reach of the Tree of Life.


These words fall straight down
with great weight, tons of old ice
removed from the core
of the Greenland pack
atop the sunken mountain
beneath it, and there
deep inside the stone
beats a rising wish, the act
reversing the lie.

May 31, 2010 12:19 AM

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

It's Not My Father's Oldsmobile - 3WW

Thom writes:
Each week, I post three words. You write something using the words.

Then come back and post a link to the contribution with Mr. Linky (but please, link to the exact post, not your blog, by clicking on the exact post title and paste it to Mr. Linky below). As always, there's no hard-and-fast rule that you have to post on Wednesday.

To link up with this week's Three Word Wednesday *Click Here*

This week's words:

Compromise; Decision; Forward

It's Not My Father's Oldsmobile

The nor'easter comes -
there's no compromise with God.
We all know that one.
What's my decision
to be in the face of things
like this? I reserve
my rights to forward
my messages as if God will
read them all right now.
I don't know why I
insist on this arrogance
but I always have.

November 7, 2012 4:45 AM

Monday, November 5, 2012

No Guarantees - Reprise

This picture was offered to me the last time I posted this poem as one of a pair. The poem I posted yesterday morning and this poem were part of the same post. Ghost Dansing found this picture and gave me the link in the comments of the original post. I don't have any trouble posting this image with the poem. I can see a woman writing the poem as easily as me.

No Guarantees

I ache in hidden
Places and have for years now,
Following your lead.

This is the price discipline
Has laid on my heart, saying,
"Regret would be worse,
Trust me on this, my old friend."

But how can I know
For sure?

January 8, 2009 11:55 AM
first posted May 28, 2009
image added November 5, 2012

Adam's Sacrifice - Reprise

Mississippi River in flood

I am in a situation of my own devising, but not me, not really, not me here now. Some other me in some other place back behind several significant corners. Those corners were such long ago sharp turns that the "person" involved is just not here any more. Some mornings I wake from dreams like this. My dreams are so long ago or so far in the future, so different, so far away that they form me but are not me. There is a consequence to this sense of me. I live a day to day life filled with decision and event. Some days are so busy that they are all that fill me. And then I wake for some reason and realize that a larger flow is going on. It's like floating down the Mississippi out in the middle, realizing I can swim around but can't really make it to the shore I can't see it's so far away. Maybe I won't drown but I think I have to have help here. Then the help goes silent and stays that way even if it is not gone, even though the sense of destiny rolls along underneath it all.

Adam's Sacrifice

That you should require
My separation from you
Is what baffles me.
It feels bleak and hard
That I must walk out the door.

I know I started
This situation in truth
By my argument
And I think I'm right
But still, what a steep deep price.

And on top of it,
At the high capstone,
You want me to do this thing
As if willingly.

January 7, 2009 11:51 AM
First Posted May 28, 2009

Sunday, November 4, 2012

On Getting The Fellowship - A Magpie Tale

Photo of Charis by Edward Weston, taken in 1937 at Lake Ediza.
Offered by Tess Kincaid for The Mag *click here*

Lake Ediza is an alpine lake in the Ansel Adams Wilderness near Mammoth Lakes, California. It is now the goal of one of the most coveted backpacking experiences in the Sierras, and one needs a permit to hike and camp legally there. It is quite crowded. In 1937 it was undoubtedly true wilderness.

Google Charis Wilson for a remarkable story of partnership and life.

Wiki says:
"Edward Henry Weston (March 24, 1886 – January 1, 1958) was a 20th century American photographer. He has been called "one of the most innovative and influential American photographers…" and "one of the masters of 20th century photography." Over the course of his forty-year career Weston photographed an increasingly expansive set of subjects, including landscapes, still lifes, nudes, portraits, genre scenes and even whimsical parodies. It is said that he developed a "quintessentially American, and specially Californian, approach to modern photography" because of his focus on the people and places of the American West. In 1937 Weston was the first photographer to receive a Guggenheim Fellowship, and over the next two years he produced nearly 1,400 negatives using his 8 × 10 view camera. Some of his most famous photographs were taken of the trees and rocks at Point Lobos, California, near where he lived for many years.

"Weston was born in Chicago and moved to California when he was 21. He knew he wanted to be a photographer from an early age, and initially his work was typical of the soft focus pictorialism that was popular at the time. Within a few years, however, he abandoned that style and went on to be one of the foremost champions of highly detailed photographic images.

"In 1947 he was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease and he stopped photographing soon thereafter. He spent the remaining ten years of his life overseeing the printing of more than 1,000 of his most famous images."

The Guggenheim website says:
"Guggenheim Fellowships are grants to selected individuals made for a minimum of six months and a maximum of twelve months. Since the purpose of the Guggenheim Fellowship program is to help provide Fellows with blocks of time in which they can work with as much creative freedom as possible, grants are made freely. No special conditions attach to them, and Fellows may spend their grant funds in any manner they deem necessary to their work. The United States Internal Revenue Service, however, does require the Foundation to ask for reports from its Fellows at the end of their Fellowship terms.

"Guggenheim Fellowships are intended for men and women who have already demonstrated exceptional capacity for productive scholarship or exceptional creative ability in the arts. (Men and women such as these are considered advanced professionals.)

"The Foundation understands advanced professionals to be those who as writers, scholars, or scientists have a significant record of publication, or as artists, playwrights, filmmakers, photographers, composers, or the like, have a significant record of exhibition or performance of their work.

"Fellowships are awarded through two annual competitions: one open to citizens and permanent residents of the United States and Canada, and the other open to citizens and permanent residents of Latin America and the Caribbean. Candidates must apply to the Guggenheim Foundation in order to be considered in either of these competitions."

On Getting The Fellowship

What are you looking
at or for and why me now
with my legs spread wide?
Or else otherwise
why do you sit for me thus
while I freeze you off?
I guess it's first here -
We're both living on free cash
at this time and place -
out in the mountains,
not in the normal rat race
like we were last year.

November 4, 2012 7:44 AM

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Stripped Naked - Reprise

The heart attacks changed everything. I have no idea now what the original referent was. This poem was written prior to both heart events but posted after the first one. They weren't really attacks. They were more like complaints and then finding trouble, serious because all heart events are but minor as these things go. However, my energy levels have dropped by half, I have trouble with my breathing and it is difficult for me to remain upright throughout a whole working day. Also, I am often found reaching for heaven in this poetry I write, or so it seems to me. It is completely ordinary for me to casually contemplate how short my remaining time on the planet. Death is not my enemy and mortality is not morbidity. I have all my life held attitudes that are not all that popular. I think I would do well in a culture that celebrates All Saints' Day. At least then one day a year I would not have to worry about offending anyone. If I did worry about offending anyone...

Stripped Naked

My stark lightning bones
Are thin, and look quite fragile
Reaching for heaven.

I was stripped naked
By a mighty wind
While sure I should stand my ground.

Then you come along,
Take my last picture
Before I fall down silently,
Old before my time.

January 6, 2009 9:15 AM
First Posted May 24, 2009
Image added and intro revised, November 3, 2012

Friday, November 2, 2012

In The Gulf

I wonder if I am talking about political rhetoric. Perhaps that's the flood I am thinking of. I do believe we get the outcomes we deserve.

In The Gulf

We cannot move now,
not in any direction
that makes the kind of
difference that makes
a difference to the scope
of dark coming things.

He said the center
cannot hold and I say it's
already broken
wide open. The flood
pours through this shaking moment
in huge oily globs.

May 30, 2010 11:46 PM

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