Monday, September 30, 2013

With My Wand

Wiki says: "The Osprey (Pandion haliaetus), sometimes known as the sea hawk, fish eagle, or fish hawk, is a diurnal, fish-eating bird of prey. It is a large raptor, reaching more than 60 cm (24 in) in length and 180 cm (71 in) across the wings. It is brown on the upperparts and predominantly greyish on the head and underparts, with a black eye patch and wings. In 1994, the osprey was declared the provincial bird of Nova Scotia, Canada.

"The Osprey tolerates a wide variety of habitats, nesting in any location near a body of water providing an adequate food supply. It is found on all continents except Antarctica, although in South America it occurs only as a non-breeding migrant.

"As its other common name suggests, the Osprey's diet consists almost exclusively of fish. It possesses specialised physical characteristics and exhibits unique behaviour to assist in hunting and catching prey. As a result of these unique characteristics, it has been given its own taxonomic genus, Pandion and family, Pandionidae. Four subspecies are usually recognized, one of which has recently been given full species status. Despite its propensity to nest near water, the Osprey is not classed as a sea-eagle."

I add: The Osprey is very common in the American Northwest and its nests are distinctive and easy to find because the Osprey likes to nest at the top of bald trees and also the top of tall poles and such erected by us for our own purposes. Sometimes they return again and again and the nests are built higher and higher over time. When on a vacation into the Canadian Rockies, going up to Jasper and then over and back down on the west side, it was not long before I started seeing Osprey nests in British Columbia as well.

I live now on the bluff above Willamette Falls on the Willamette River. The most common large bird in our area is the Turkey Vulture, seen daily circling and riding the drafts above the river and the hills both sides. The next most common I believe is the Osprey. However, we see Bald Eagles too.

With My Wand

If I could, I would
turn you into your freedom,
soaring like ospreys.
I am willing now,
willing to gift you with lift
like the running cat,
or the hart mid-leap.

I would craze the glass, shatter
the bonds that hold you,
by grace release you
from the gravity of all
the old illusions.

August 18, 2010 10:59 PM

Sunday, September 29, 2013

The Flagstone Path - A Magpie Tale

Photo by Mark G Haley. He holds the copyright, 2010.
Offered by Tess Kincaid as a writing prompt for Mag 188
To join with and enjoy this week's Magpie Tales writing group *click here*

The Flagstone Path

I pull up the stones
looking for signs you left me.
I miss you that much.
I find no treasure
and this matches the gray day,
the pile up of clouds,
and the systole hitch
I live with these halting times.

I set down the stones
using all due care
trying for the undisturbed
appearance of things
and I think I do
well enough, thank you. Indeed.
I pray you find peace.

September 29, 2013 11:22 AM

Saturday, September 28, 2013


There were times when he
would wonder what could have been.

This one time under
the tiny moon high,
almost full but so awful-
cold on cold night time
draft bringing the frost
of the pale thin aired morning
this after the last
the same old same old
and he sure saw the one way
he might go as toothed,
sharp needle bright toothed
and better to be stalled out
right here than to go.

‎September ‎26, ‎2013 2:45 PM

Friday, September 27, 2013

A Sacred Tussle

Can You Tell Me Please,
Who Won?

The Buddha came back
when Jesus went on His quest
to bathe in holy
waters as He taught.
He took His place riverside
on a smaller fork
off the Jhelum stream
beyond Kashmir's most Holy
Dal Lake, where he met
the Buddha, both robed,
in a tea shanty. They drank
tea with yak butter
as was the custom.

They decided arm
wrestling was the Holy thing
for them to prove right
then and there Who wins,
but angels clouded things for us.
No one will ever
know. Ain't that a bitch?

‎September ‎25, ‎2013 11:17 PM

Thursday, September 26, 2013

The Long View Of Things

When you got next to
John it got bad for me, which
I never understood
because John was fine
and you were even better
when I was alone
with either of you.
When I searched and found you next
fifty five years passed
and it was just like
no time at all in some ways.
Once you were one street
over but now you
are half way to the star field
and neither of us
knows how to find John.
Last anyone heard John left
for the settlements.
As for me, I came
back down, found a smallish den
and now I'm selling.

‎September ‎24, ‎2213 7:50 PM
New Earth Left Coast Local Time

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

A Simple Request - 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 join this week's 3 Word Wednesday writing group *click here*

This week's words:

Earthy; Grotesque; Nonchalant

A Simple Request

Wait at the corner
of Nonchalant and Easy,
wait for me, for me.
I'm a bit earthy
and as well a bit grotesque
(I'm in the middle
as you can surely
see - it's a really tough crowd)

and I don't come up
to your standards here,
this I know all too well, missy.
Don't turn away, please.
Oh Bother!...You did.

September 25, 2013 5:03 AM

Tuesday, September 24, 2013


This was our end. Oh, I knew
we found the oily
sludge in the mean deeps,
the red acid wash of wrack
and ruin rising
amid the broken
belongings, the spoken oaths
of propaganda,
lies, tall tales of rut,
amounting to our demise
in the choking wake
of bright jet strewn doom.

‎September ‎23, ‎2013 9:52 PM

Monday, September 23, 2013

The Little Monster

Open your third eye
if you dare, little monster!
I will poke it out!
By the Elfin Lakes
in elfin mail shimmering
with blue steel hammers
and a red steel pike,
maybe I will browbeat you
first, smash you all flat,
your three eyes popping
out and rolling here and there
and you mewling so
thin like and reedy
that I can slip past sideways
and leave you to fry.

‎September ‎21, ‎2013 12:56 AM

The Elfin Lakes

Wiki says: Elfin Lakes are two lakes in Garibaldi Provincial Park that are popular for hiking, snowshoeing, skiing, and mountain bicycling trails located east of Squamish, British Columbia, Canada.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

The Memory - A Magpie Tale

"The Moth And The Lamp" offered for a creative prompt by Tess for The Mag 187. To join with and enjoy this week's Magpie Tales writing group *click here*

Thank you, Tess, for introducing me to this young man's work.

Cesar Santos (b.1982) is a trained artist working in oils on linen, as he says, his favorite media these days. (At least in the days he wrote of it for his website) He is Cuban American raised in Florida and an internationally trained artist, trained in the manner of the old masters and as well in modern venues. He thus boldly positions near photographic perfection in backgrounds which can be fully impressionistic and even surrealistic. Often he will mix the representational with the surreal in ways that tangle them together in knots of beautiful fantasy.

Sometimes he will offer up modernized versions of the paintings done by the masters easily recognized as both the old and the new. He favors female nudes but also produces landscapes and works featuring many other subjects. To illustrate how a man's art can imitate his life, Cesar is also well trained in mixed martial arts and he fights well enough to earn awards, not a usual activity for a deeply realized artist. As I looked at the work he chose for display on his website *click here* I found a great sympathy for his vision rise up inside me. I especially appreciate his mastery of the old forms. I wish I had the discipline for it. I feel quite at home with his fearless blending of figure and ground, which I have so often used in my own work, a skill that I started to explore in art, poety and music in 1968.

The Memory

She caught the room's light,
in a hazy afterglow
hung low where she could
reach and draw it in,
and lifting herself up, wings
strapped on, bare breasted,
she set one foot free,
the slipper dropping away
like unpleasant truths
should fall from us all,
like drab walls and dirty glass
should be blacklisted,
and possibly burned.

Then she curled around her source,
and she mourned her son.

September 22, 2013 12:29 PM

Saturday, September 21, 2013

The Best Of It

I found your spade, found
a stone in my shoe, grass stains
on my torn out knees.

I shall continue to weed
this garden despite my pains.

For all it falls short
love is still the best of it,
the gateway, the bloom.

August 18, 2010 9:22 AM

Friday, September 20, 2013

How To Start A Quest

Image snipped from an AP photo
of the recent Colorado wildfires

I will continue
to seek what you claim,
the nebula of your choice
far beyond this place.

This takes some effort,
you know, and some well mixed swirls
of tapped out tree sap.

Then I will make haste
in a surprising twisted
flash of ash and smoke
leaving piles behind,
piles giving off singular
once in a lifetime
aromas of love
and your future forbearance.

‎September ‎14, ‎2013   4:38 PM

Thursday, September 19, 2013

A Long Time

They say it takes time
for so many things such as
how we might make love
under the full moon
or cook a sumptuous feast
out of leftovers
and my fresh caught fish
come from the river. And how
about this? - about
a whole life's effort
that culminates in something
like twelve simple lines?

‎September ‎17, ‎2013 4:37 PM

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The Carnival's In Town - 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 join this week's 3 Word Wednesday writing group *click here*

This week's words:

Easygoing; Fact; Handsome

Photo Image by Meg Gallucci, 2009

The Carnival's In Town

For a barker's mouth
your smile is easygoing.
Here's a firstborn fact:
a handsome flashing
countenance like the morning
sun rising higher
in the rosy sky
you fairly beam upon us
indifferent to
our shiftless groping
avarice. We are after
all rank amateurs.

Admit this as I.
Admit the barker has us
beat. It will lay down
better that way as
he, grinning, shines us all on -
but guard your backside.

‎September ‎18, ‎2013 6:26 AM

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

I'm Not The Only One

Whoever wants to
join me had better leave soon
on the westbound bus.
You should carry proof
of purchase and documents
that verify life,
such as licenses,
and certificates of state.
Perhaps our late stage
will expose his sign
like round scat clumped on flat stones
in some dry creek bed.

‎September ‎16, ‎2013 8:21 PM

Monday, September 16, 2013

Looking For Sign

The Storm George Inness 1885

Looking For Sign

I am bullheaded
enough to insist on my
own way in these things.

My head thinks it can
kill my body, shred
my flesh and go on living.
I'd be swell headed
with this remnant flesh
dangling beneath of small use
if I had my way.

Fire and sour brimstone
shattered the granite block near
my last stand before
I knuckled under.
That's how it happened last time.
You would think I'd learn.

August 16, 2010   2:40 PM

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Across The Ayre - A Magpie Tale

To join with and enjoy this week's Magpie Tales writing group *click here*

Our Company

The Ruins

Approaching The Isle

The Map

Near St. Ninian's
Across The Ayre

We found treasure there.
Digging into the ruined
walls already old,
older than father
and his father too, blinded
by the white cloudy
stone that some suffer
so that he shuffles slowly
wherever he goes,
we found the silver
and the hermit Culdee signs
that tell us truly
we are on the old
straight track that runs through the notch,
and straight through us all.

‎September ‎15, ‎2013 7:33 AM

More than legend but not much more, the presence of St. Ninian throughout the Eastern lands of the Picts is commemorated in dedications up and down Scotland and into the Islands above. So too the Culdees, the Céli Dé (God's Companions), who were originally members of ascetic Christian monastic and eremitical communities of Ireland, Scotland and England in the Middle Ages.

Celtic Christianity in this form was maintained by the laic devout prior to the reach of Catholic Rome but certainly after the departure of the old Roman Empire from all the lands. The Pax Romanum never reached beyond Hadrian's wall in the north of England in any permanent way. The Pictish peoples were far too fierce and brooked no masters while the logistics of maintaining Roman presence was far too tenuous and fragile that far north.

However, as all the signs left behind demonstrate, the later Christianised Celts were able to change the landscape, and still later the monastic organizations of the Roman rite enfolded them in a stabilized canonical structure. The Céli Dé disappeared, leaving behind only vague references. As well, St. Ninian's dedications are too widespread for him to not have some reality. He was said to have been educated in Rome and to have established himself in Whithorn. He was not Culdee. They came to Scotland later. Of Whithorn, it is said: The town was the location of the first recorded Christian church in Scotland, Candida Casa: the 'White [or 'Shining'] House', built by Saint Ninian about 397.

The Cross of St. Ninian

Saturday, September 14, 2013

The Abandoned Track

Actually, I have visited Google Maps and found the address. Here is the front of the house.

The neighborhood of the railroad track in the poem has gone almost totally industrial and suburban but the house as a structure is still there, the house we visited in the 1950s for Thanksgiving or Christmas. There we visited Nora Spurlock and her daughter Ruth, married to Stanley. Now it looks like it is part of a business. Next door was Paul and Bessie. That house is still there too. Across the street was Dorothy, I believe was her name. That house has been removed.

All these people, my step-father's people were Okies and all related. They were real Okies, having migrated from Oklahoma in the dust bowl to California seeking better times. They found at least livable times. They were not the totally desperate ones, however and were able to purchase property. They did so in a community called Montalvo, a tiny town on the outskirts of Ventura. They took over Beene Rd, one little portion of it, right at the end of the road, a short L-shaped road opening directly onto fields. The water was terrible. We had to drink bottled water. Across the field not far there was a solitary railroad track, rarely used post WWII.

Ruth was my Dad's mother and Nora his grandmother. Dorothy and Bessie were both my dad's aunts. We ate a major feast at the holidays, all together. They knew how to cook, were especially fond of corn on the cob and of watermelon. In the back of the house was the bedroom my step-dad and his brother used in high school. There was stuff stored in there that was exciting to me, from when they were kids and also from the War.

It appears as the area industrialized the track was rehabilitated and added to. It was mostly idle when I was a child in the fifties, the surrounding agriculture having gone to trucking. When my step-dad was a kid, however, it was an active farming service track. One of the stories is of how my dad played on the rail cars as a kid, fell off one and landed on his head on one of the couplings. The joke was that if he had landed anywhere but his head it might have really hurt him.

My dad did go to war, First Marines in the Pacific, in time for the invasion of Okinawa and after that service in China. He would have been in the invasion of Japan itself for certain. I have a silver cigarette case my dad bought in Tsingtao China dated 1945-1946. My dad was himself an Okie. He was born in Perry, Oklahoma.

The Abandoned Track

I stand on the track,
the rusted rail under my
right foot, a tie my
left, me on the raised
weedy bed of abandoned

I stand in
sun, late sun, autumn's
late light thinking how it must
have been for my Dad
when he walked these tracks
before that War came for him,
took him far away,
there to meet his fate.

August 15, 2010 1:01 PM

Friday, September 13, 2013

Keeping Cats

This cat reminds me of Alonza, who travelled with us to Oregon, who was a foundling in our apartment complex in Mountain View, Ca. She never did get over her early loss of her mother, was needy to her dying day in that uncomfortable way some cats have. We loved her as best we could.

Did you think I wouldn't know
my old cat dropped dead?
She hesitated,
more or less dropped right in her
dodgy left foot tracks,
her tail switching time
until her rust blood beat out
one last wash, her tail
still game if the rest
quit. Yes, I've borne this better
than you could expect,
better than you will
when it's my turn to curl up,
slur one short ditty,
and shed my lead weight.

‎September ‎12, ‎2013 3:05 PM

Thursday, September 12, 2013

How Could It Be Any Different

I'm just a clown here
and now, of only small use,
fallen farther down.
But it is here, now,
that the Light shines around me
and takes me places
I did not ever
guess could show themselves nearby
as if alive, free
and welcoming me.
This changes the game pieces,
wipes my war paint off.
I'm still a Bozo,
still the clown as ever was,
though I now know what's
what - that Light arrives
right here square in the middle
of the full blown mess.*

September 10, 2013 10:10 PM

*When you transform from seeker to one who has found, from disciple to master, from sinner to saint, from penitent to exalted, when you are saved by the Master, when you shift your shape for real, it begins in a moment just like any other in all your days as they have been before and lifts you out from there. The clown sits clothed in rags for the last time under the Bodhi Tree but does not know until after it is his last time. When he gets up he is no longer the clown but now is Buddha, clothed in Light. And the rest of it is this: the world has not changed and the rest of us have not changed and likely will not. As Buddha steps away from that Tree, he becomes again the clown if he stays around. More often than not he stays nearby, taking vows and becoming all but invisible doing so. Mahayana Buddhism calls this one Bodhisattva. In Taoism this one is one of the old men of the forest. As well there is a myth that several of these immortals have joined hearts in Shangri La and keep the world anchored in place despite all self destructive efforts to the contrary.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

An Inner Light - 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 join this week's 3 Word Wednesday writing group *click here*

This week's words:

Blunder; Cringe; Digress

An Inner Light

Liquids heavier
than water have their own ways
at the sea's bottom.
This is no blunder,
not by nature nor by man.

A wolf's submission
is not a true cringe
no matter what it looks like.

I do not digress,
even at this time,
even when I offer mums
and dig my thumbs in
all along your back
hoping I remove your stress,
you laid out beneath
my hands, me in deep,
deep in your dreamy rose core.
I'm ablaze, I shine.

‎September ‎11, ‎2013 4:57 AM

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

There Are Cymbals In The Clouds

Once a howl like this
broke loose under the new moon
and rose past sunrise
or where it would be.
Once the wail of the old wolf
meant everything.

We fell out of love
just like the howling of dogs
afraid of the gray
wolf holding the trunk
framed in the dark shine of pride
and me in the heart
of the horn sounding
taps and you calling silence
into the cushions
calming me, humming
so quietly I believe
you've already gone.

‎September ‎9, ‎2013 9:30 PM

Monday, September 9, 2013


My Liege! You demand
so much of your life and mine
as if you had rights
to my soul, to strip
me down to gray stripes and sand
as if I might flee,
as if it's today
that you found out what I'm like.
That's just not the case
nor am I at peace
nor willing to tell you lies
of this, my last stand.

August 14, 2010 10:08 PM
Reworked September 9, 2013 7:30 AM

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Displaced Person - A Magpie Tale

Tess Kincaid has offered The Mag writing group a Norman Rockwell painting done in 1946. I was just over a year old when this cover art was published. Rockwell's youngest son Peter was the model for the boy, chosen over three other applicants. One website says, Boy In Dining Car, a Norman Rockwell painting, appeared on the cover of The Saturday Evening Post published December 7, 1946. Alternate titles for this painting are New York Central Diner and The Tip.

This painting was Rockwell's 243rd overall out of 322 total paintings that were published on the cover of the Saturday Evening Post. Rockwell's career with the Post spanned 47 years.

To read more concerning the history of this painting *click here*

To join with and enjoy this week's Magpie Tales writing group *click here*

Displaced Person

When they jerked me up
I found I was ten years old,
not sixty any
more and my teeth fresh
in my mouth, my joints pain free.
I was powerful
hungry so I went
to the dining car. That black
guy helped me out there.
I saw a fellow
named Rockwell sketching me up
from across the way.
He gave me this one.
I kid you not, and I skipped
out on my food bill.
So all in all, Bud
I still got all my chump change.
Now I gotta run.

September 8, 2013 10:03 AM

Friday, September 6, 2013


I have read of war
all my life. I want it bad,
the dread and the joy,
the skill and the chance,
no rules on the battle line
of some weirding strife,
except I know what
I truly am not, never
could really ever
be if in their time
or in my own.

It's ticking,
the pin pulled, spoon flipped
and smoke leaking out.
Fire in the friggen hole I
holler running past
the perimeter.
The bang of it slaps at me.
Then the clouds roiling
tell their own story.

I will not go back to check
the splay of the dead.

‎September ‎6, ‎2013 9:34 PM

A Difference Of Opinion

Taste a miracle,
that is what I heard you say
as we strolled along
in the dark of where
our things used to be before
we cleaned them all out.

We are moving on.

Taste hallelujah. I guess
you want this change more
than I, always have.
To you this goes far beyond
my full press anchor
in this world, beyond
the local stellar back yard,
beyond the cluster.

All done for decades,
I will not pioneer, not
any more, but you're
gone gone gone goodbye.

September 5, 2013 4:01 PM

Thursday, September 5, 2013



Here I shall build it.
I will build the clouds a frame
like a boxy kite
but with room for me
and I shall strap in forthwith
for my trip aloft
perhaps to the stars
and certainly high enough
to spy tower tips
and those who live there.
In that place lives my lost love.
Perhaps she'll see me.
Perhaps she will wave.
Perhaps I will be set free
to fly on my own.

‎September ‎3, ‎2013 4:18 PM

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Day After Day - 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 join this week's 3 Word Wednesday writing group *click here*
This week's words:

Disgust; Pout; Wad

Day After Day

Waiting for the train
heading to the promised land,
this is what she says:

I wish I knew why
I feel such disgust. You pout
and it is so ick.
Did I say that out
loud? Sorry, my dear, sorry.
No I'm not. I'm not
really sorry. Ick.
But I really do want to
know why you are so
abhorrent to me.
Thiry-nine years on it's been-
what a wad of time.
Must I kill you now?

September 4, 2013 4:36 AM

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

After He Died

A fine fantasy story appeared in The New Yorker magazine, the byline dated April 20, 2009. It is called A Tiny Feast, written by Chris Adrian. It features some very strange creatures, a small boy dying of leukemia, and a hospital staff. I recommend the story and I have embellished that story here. This is stuff he did not choose to tell and yet I know very well what happened. I was there.

This photo is a pretty good shot of one stage of the procession through the town. None of the wee folk nor the two witches can be seen because they do not show on photos without express permission given by someone who can give it. No one gave permission.

After He Died

Then the changeling died.
We had to carry him home
on a bier we made
from things at our hand
so we trashed the place outright
to make his last bed
and we took him out
in procession, all hundreds
of us fine wee folk
led by both witches.
With no glamour left to mask
us, we knew they would
see the whole sad thing
so we decided to show
off our skills at joy.
The entire town turned
upside down for us, promptly
starting bronze statues,
some building an ark,
those people so sure
that the flood was coming soon.
That's all fine by us.

‎September 2, ‎2013 11:29 PM

Monday, September 2, 2013


I am out of sorts
but not only me it seems
as I wandered off
the reservation
and here's what I saw out there:
I saw the clockworks
open and stalled and then
some dude comes along, adjusts
something, I don't get
what or how that worked,
pulls the seams closed, stomps the catch
and then he walks off
whistling happy tunes.
Who the hell was that masked man?

No, really. It's true.

‎August ‎31, ‎2013 11:16 PM

Sunday, September 1, 2013

At The Tree - A Magpie Tale

The image is presented as the current creative writing prompt by Tess Kincaid of The Mag. The artwork is by Jeannie Tomanek, her own website or on FaceBook. In her own words, much of Jeannie's artwork comes from her exploration of the feminine archetype.

To join with and enjoy this week's Magpie Tales writing group
*click here*

At The Tree

The egg has broken
wide, spilled and spreads at the tree
of my undoing
where you perch, my love,
where you sit my royal love
like some songbird might
as I slink away
with my churlish shape so formed
from long heavy use,
pretentious poser
of dancing motes of starlight
entranced and enjoined.
The window behind
you has opened but neither
of us fits inside.
God stands near the ledge
and whispers His words too low
for you or for me.
Is there nothing else
that I can do with you now?
Nothing left to do?

September 1, 2013 8:53 AM

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