Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Off-Piste - Three Word Wednesday

I hope you have a sense of humor today.

Affable; Galvanize; Rangy

Here’s a little lesson in perspective: how small an alpine hut can look against its surrounding peaks, and how big. The Swiss Alpine Club Monte Rosa hut is located on the north side of the 15,203-foot Monte Rosa, the highest point in Switzerland and second-highest peak in western Europe after Mont Blanc. It offers a fantastic off-piste run down into Zermatt, Switzerland, with the Matterhorn always at the edge of your vision.

It sleeps 120 on five floors and has a staff in late spring and summer. It’s open in winter, but you’re on your own. Or as on your own as you can be in one of Europe’s most popular wild playgrounds.

By the way, "off-piste" refers to cross country or back country skiing. A Piste is a groomed ski run.

I Guess This Means Divorce

How do I do this?
You are so damn affable
and sneaky old me
with not such good plans
for your next trick pony ride
oozing out my pores.
I will galvanize
my squad of gremlin tricksters
and surround your hut
with spite, you rangy
cur, you stealer of my peace.
I'm digging foxholes,
setting my mortars,
waiting for D-day, counting
down, down to H-hour.
Just you turn your back.
See what happens next, missy.
See what happens next.

January 29, 2014 8:41 AM

Three Word Wednesday

Monday, January 27, 2014


Slogging through mudflats
at the edge of the brown bay
looking for clams, for
the secrets they keep,
all clammed up as some might say,
as if I would find
instructions on how
to love you better and find
a clear flowing tide.

September 3, 2010 4:23 PM

Sunday, January 26, 2014

I Skipped The Meeting

Brenda Warren's Wordle 145

The rule: Use all twelve words in a piece. You aren't done unless the piece makes some kind of weird sense.

I Skipped The Meeting

I'll facilitate
the plans. I'll find time to write
despite the juggling,
the strands of bad hair
I habitually sweep
out of the country
of my moon faced eyes.
Surely I will embrace gems,
the crystal aspect
of the coarse gravel
on the path of state. Sustain
the note. Hold it down.
This missive's been sent.

‎January ‎26, ‎2014 9:42 AM

Sleepless Night - A Magpie Tale

The Mill - 1964, Andrew Wyeth
provided as a prompt by Tess for this week's Mag 204

Often Wyeth does this to me. He opens me to the darker places that are available in my heart. In this painting I notice that the window glass can be the edge of my eyes. While the scene outside is clean with new snow, the gritty cold of the glass is the sharp line between the outside light and the dark raw wood within.

I learned long ago that it is easier for me to write the pain of life than it is to write the joy. This does not mean I am depressed or that my life is so horrible. It means that improv in the minor keys is easier to maintain without false notes than improv in the major keys. This is fundamental in music as well as poetry. It is not that my skill level is higher in the minor keys. Instead, it is that there are fewer false notes since dissonance is built in to things in the minor keys.

It is helpful that I am fond of dissonance and the suspension it supports. Perhaps this is overly technical, a musician's joy, the fun of making music rather than the appreciation of the finished work. I would rather be the musician than listen to him any day. I would rather write than read poetry.

Imagination being what it is, I honor where it goes, especially when it is guided by a master like Wyeth. Do not be concerned. I am not revealing my struggles per se, nor am I complaining in real time. I, like you no doubt, have suffered real agony in my days but not right now. It is easy for me to fictionalize after as much practice as has been given me in my later decades.

Sleepless Night

I have pulled myself
off the floor, off my bruised knees.
The warnings they give
tell me there's no good
can come of winter this year
and the cold pane view
confirms your absence
old enough to give no sign
in the falling snow.

I feel in my teeth
the biting of the north wind,
an exposed nerve, sharp
and cracking me wide
open like the bad thin skin
wrapping my ankle,
just above the knob.
This foretells my fall.

I risk
infection despite
all I try to do.
All is virginal out there,
but in here, bad air.

January 26, 2014 7:50 AM

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Making Camp

Painting by James Albert Hanes

It is ash now, ash
where we built the fire after
yesterday's long hike
into love's wild ways,
where we came to rest, singing
twelve songs of wonder
all in angelic
tones, as if it was written
that we give love voice.

September 3, 2010 9:46 AM

Thursday, January 23, 2014


An angel touched me.
I did not know it then like
I know it today.
Today I am sure
an angel touched me down deep
in the great ocean
of my dream of you.
I know it now oh my love.
The angel's true heart
is too deep to reach
though I discipline my breath
and pop my ears as
you taught me so well.
I only want you, you know.
I know you know it.

‎January ‎23, ‎2014 6:05 AM

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Must Be A Nightmare - 3 Word Wednesday

Three Word Wednesday

Malevolent; Probe; Repulsive

Must Be A Nightmare

A malevolent
probe, so completely thorough,
an act repulsive
to the quick and dead,
man and beast - an insertion
of cold steel wire in
place after place all
up and down me as I lie
helpless, abducted
(I don't believe this)
by the grays - taken from my
innocence and raped
by refugees from
a History Channel show
in their tinfoil suits.

‎January ‎22, ‎2014 7:01 AM

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Sandy Hook

When Adam Shot Them Down
Sandy Hook, December 14, 2012

How do we do this,
you asked me and I could hear
the crack in your soul
caused by the cracking
air and the smells, oh the smells
and the hues spilled out
all across the ground
before us on the hot screen
while they yammered on.

We feel the bitter
clench in the sweaty curtains
at the winter panes
of frozen crystal.
It's one shitty year and more
since little dead cries
were slapped down, leaking
love and dreams and all sweetness
there was in the world.

How can I go now?

‎January ‎21, ‎2014 5:54 AM

Monday, January 20, 2014

The Challenger

Wiki says of the Challenger: "The crew compartment and many other vehicle fragments were eventually recovered from the ocean floor after a lengthy search and recovery operation. The exact timing of the death of the crew is unknown; several crew members are known to have survived the initial breakup of the spacecraft. The shuttle had no escape system, and the impact of the crew compartment with the ocean surface was too violent to be survivable."

Often it is not the fall but the landing. In the case of that 73 second flight the fall is a real fall. In my poem it could be metaphorical. The result is the same.

The Challenger

So many of us
struggle to find some kind of
answer to the pain.
I guess that's because
pain hurts. We even take off
risking a failed seal
in some crucial seam
that we may rise above all
the grit and muddy
sludge that paints our wounds.
We train and learn and then teach
each other so much
but not enough to
stop the fall. We howl like wolves
howl at the bone moon.

‎January ‎20, ‎2014 10:29 AM

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Love Song 144

Wordle 144

Love Song 144

I will bend and sigh
as I curl inward on signs
of my hope for us.
You carry my weight
easily, spirits rising
as I conjure time
in my cap. I love
caps and love to hold eons
as close as I might
other brass trinkets.
Oh, I won't neglect the shape
of your nest, putting
my back into it
as I twine around your heart
tying knots of love.

‎January ‎19, ‎2014 1:01 PM
Written for

A Musician Waits Curbside - A Magpie Tale

Musician In The Rain - Robert Doisneau,
provided as a prompt by Tess
for this week's Mag 203

A Musician Waits Curbside

Her sweet harmony
echoes like mist from over
the edge of my soul.
The cello I take
with me most places I go
has been all around
the world even more
than I have because you gave
her to me used, aged
by better players
than I.

The bowed strings evoke
all her songs each time.

If I have to wait
in the rain I will cover
her sooner than me.

‎January ‎19, ‎2014 11:08 AM

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Roll Call

The primary threads of Western thought are woven together out of the Greek mountains and seas and out of Middle Eastern foment and desert disciplines. It is said in current scholarship that Jesus as a builder under his dad, growing up in Nazareth, would most probably commute to Sepphoris (Tzippori) to ply his trade. That center of Hellenistic and Roman influence was populated by cosmopolitan Jews and Gentiles alike, perched on the trade routes in the area.

Sepphoris held the opportunities for employment that would secure the family. Sepphoris was older, less than four miles from Nazareth, the newer and more Jewish community. Sepphoris dated back at least to the Assyrians and perhaps to the northern extent of Egyptian influences. Also, it is thought that Jesus' mother Mary was born in Sepphoris so he likely had mother's side relatives (the more important Jewish bloodline) still living there.

If Jesus received any Greek education at all (and he probably did) it was here that he found it, an easy walk from his Nazarene home. It is likely, then, that in Jesus the precise mix that was to eventually sweep Europe and then much of the world started in Sepphoris.

The classical Roman Empire was pushed aside and largely replaced in Europe by internal splits and external invasions, and by the eastern Constantinian maneuvers which culminated in the Holy Roman Empire and the varieties of outlying Christian influences. This eastern influence heavily modified the Christianity of Rome itself.

The Roman rite claims primacy through Paul and Peter, thus emphasizing the Hebraic legacy of Jesus' lineage, undergirding the claim that Jesus is The Second in a triune godhead. The Eastern rite claims primacy through the legitimacy of the Constantine legacy, a more pragmatic connection to the Grecian world and love of philosophy, theology and public devotions. This stream contains the gatherings of the Christian councils under Constantine's protection, councils which created the Creeds (the Nicene and Apostle's) that define public Christian membership today.

The growing influence of private devotions to Jesus and His Abba/Father (as currently interpreted) is much more modern, permitted mainly by the Protestant split from Rome and Constantinople. This influence of privacy, which of course includes the introduction and reintroduction of heretical and non-Christian spiritual variants is rolling back on the Rites. The consequences of such a change are nowhere near finished.

Rome and Greece, the Levant and the Galilee, the sweep through the Middle East and around into Egypt and the North African coastline are the historical sources of the western mind. Persia and India nibble on the edges. China resides in the fog beyond the Himalayas and the jungles of Southeast Asia and contributes mainly through transplantation of early technology and agriculture. However, be assured that the forces of human enterprise pushed more or less constant traffic along the Silk Road from west to east, east to west, and back again.

It is difficult then to separate out strands of human perception and belief, dreams and thinking from this ancient global ebb and flow. Who thought or believed what first and who found what fruitful relationship to God, philosophy and science is really not possible to finalize.

Roll Call

Orion's sword shines
with a cold and distant light.
He threatens me like
he always does, called
to it like you called to me.

I am to rebel
is what you laughing
said, and to doubt you most days.
Orion is pissed
that I too should have
this roll he thought his alone
but since has had to
share with so many
gods and kings, critters and more
to come I expect.

‎January ‎18, ‎2014 7:36 AM

Daniel Seiter's 1685 painting of Diana over Orion's corpse (Diane aupr├Ęs du cadavre d'Orion):

Friday, January 17, 2014

Love Song

Love Song 513

I've carved my song out
of the white long hollow swan
bone flute you gave me
to play in the deep
grace of our moon glow filled nights.

I sit near your trust.
Moon lets me see how
the whole shine of your presence
flows down the long years -
yes, dear, the long years.
Then I get all tangled up
in them as I must,
like the warm blankets
we wrap loose around the world
get all that way too.

‎January ‎17, ‎2014 6:14 AM

The inspiration for this poem is a recent poem Rachel wrote and posted on her blog The Waxing Moon: Rite Of Passage Thank you Rachel.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

It's A Human Thing

Poppa, Let Me Rest

It's fundamental.
It's a human thing for sure.
I've turned you into
a stone and thrown you
into the pond for the rings
hoping they will fit
on my fingers, gold
on my soul.

Oh you promised
me gold but the rings
melt away. So I
try again - maybe this time.
It's a human thing.

You said if you meet
me on the road I must kill
you right then before
I wrap you all tight
like I've tied your laces round
my delicate neck.

‎January ‎16, ‎2014 4:22 AM

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

It's A Dog's Life - 3 Word Wednesday

Three Word Wednesday

Anxious; Devoted; Scrawny

It's A Dog's Life

God! Am I all in!
I would collapse of it if
I warn't so anxious.
Got me the word here
says you are all devoted
but I wish you'd go
t'other some damn where
and leave me be, leave me be.
I gots a scrawny
doggy heart, I know
and broken teeth too by Gaw,
and horny hard feet
and a down home smell
and possum for my supper,
not enough for you.

‎January ‎15, ‎2014 8:48 AM

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The Bodhisattva Vow

I lift up my love
for your support. I trust you,
trust my foundation.
Underlying all,
heaven never disappears -
is never used up.
In love I enter
the primary flow of grace.
Some call this wisdom,
or say compassion
flowers near this spring -
that you will see standing here
how we must be yoked.
This act is the source
of heaven's power and truth
in my life and yours.

‎January ‎14, ‎2014 4:55 AM

Monday, January 13, 2014

Two Ways

2 Samuel 6 - 14 ...David danced with all his might before the Lord: and David was girded with a linen ephod...

Handmaids Watch David Dance Naked

The ephod was as named here probably made similar to an apron. As an article of clothing worn by priests (the high priest especially) it was perhaps improper for David as King to wear such a thing.

Also, the generally accepted interpretation is that David wore nothing else. If it was an apron style garment, then David was bare, head, neck, back and ass, legs and feet, and the apron probably did not always cover him below the waist frontally either in his energetic dance. A king naked before the Lord is a king in all humility, showing himself to be only a man, apparently devoid of royalty, only a man before God and subjects alike.

Thus the controversy arises, for a king is royal by exalted blood and raised above men and must be so or else he has no authority. It is for this reason that kings are often considerred gods themselves, to anchor authority over the kingdom. God is not generally visible either now or then. If the king is not clothed in the traditional way, then how are people to know that he is blessed by God? Why should they follow him?

Two Ways

King David dove in.
The strong new wine was that deep.
As he climbed back out
he found his daring
and began his whirling joy
about the fire set
before the Ark's glow,
the holy shrine of YHWH.
He stripped to God's skin
given him by birth
and aging, scars and marks, all
the signs of the earth,
the world God permits
though it drapes the King God loves.
King David, he danced
despite all protests,
sure of God's love in the dream
of His Kingdom come.

Wise men shook their heads
at David. God calls the wise
to caution near Him.
This too is righteous.

‎January ‎13, ‎2014 4:44 AM

Sunday, January 12, 2014

The Complaint - A Sunday Whirl

The Coming Storm 
by Takeru San

The Complaint

"It's so remote,"
you whined, paying the one price
you promised never
to pay. Your impact
illuminates several
scenes that all haunt me.
I lie by the pool
in last year's litter and need
all lifeless now
as you nose the ground
snuffling peevishly at me
and the coming storm.

‎January ‎12, ‎2014 9:38 AM

Written for the Sunday Whirl's Wordle 143

The Lighthouse, 1989 - A Magpie Tale

Photo by Jean Guichard provided by Tess for a creative prompt for Mag 202

You might think as I did that this is a photoshopped image. Instead it was a matter of being in the right place and time, in a helicopter with wth right photo equipment during a storm in 1989. One place you can read the story:

Phare de la Jument translates as "Lighthouse of the Horse" or if you will, "Lighthouse of the Mare". There are apparently three lighthouses in the area and the Mare's Lighthouse is in the sea on a small island called La Jument beyond the western tip of Britanny. This is the real thing and this photo, which I had not seen before, is obviously famous world wide.

Look at this:

The Lighthouse, 1989

Sometimes the sea grows
beyond all bounds. It will not
warn you. It won't care
that you have stepped out
to take the air or look at
the helicopter
hovering nearby.
When you leap back in, slamming
the door of the light
you are paid to keep
the sea rages and barges
past the seams of things.
There is nothing left
to do but climb to the top
and hope this is not
the day you will kiss
the world and your ass goodbye
and your wife and dog.

‎January ‎12, ‎2014 8:30 AM

I can't help wondering. The keeper has obviously stepped out to get a view of the helicopter. Did he get really pissed at the intrusion that nearly took his life? I think I would have been. I doubt I would have enjoyed the moment. I do like a good storm and have been known to take some chances with them. This sea is no question across the line for me. This wave is very close to what mariners call a rogue wave.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

The Shortest Path

Political bones,
Do you love me? Probably...
How can I know this?
The chips are down.

keeps your physical preaching
sharpened. Broken bones
on the shelf - they shine,
polished by speeches we gave
when we raised that flag
to lower it again
to half staff.

You wear your hair
long and flowing down.
I could be empty
stations on your latest route
around the playground.

‎January ‎11, ‎2014 4:30 AM

Friday, January 10, 2014

To Each In Their Places

Real Estate Ad: House for sale, no longer zoned duplex. Main house a two bedroom, one bath with remodeled kitchen, gas heat, front entrance ramped in wood for wheel chair access. Garage attached. In the rear and separate, a spacious studio apartment attached by a breezeway roof in order to create a legal duplex in a neighborhood zoned for duplexes at the time of upgrade. The apartment, a former two room garden shed totally remodeled in 1999, a kitchen and bath added, the whole completely finished. The garden shed: the oldest building in the neighborhood, once a part of the original farm prior to the current land use. Grandfathered in place in perpetuity so long as the roof outline remains unaltered. The front house was built in the seventies. Owner has moved on. Price negotiable.

All I ever got
was a small house, a small lot
city sized though with
an even smaller
back house I rented to my
former lover once.
I thought oh maybe
last chance but she moved quickly
on to buy fancy
up the road a piece,
over the bridge, up the hill
among the rich folks.

Me, I stayed down there
on the flat but high enough -
no flood insurance
needed. So much for
loving the soulful rich girl
beyond my orbit.

‎January ‎10, ‎2014 5:41 AM

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Said This Way and That

Oh God, I don't know
how to unwrap my cramped hands,
my fingers fat claws
and this chain rusted
with oceans upon oceans,
the anchor down deep
dragging some unknown
bottom, not catching ahold,
not digging deeper
as it must to catch
the world and slow me as I
sail on, on and on.

I am astonished
how I chose calico fur
like some Cheshire boy.
I thought like that cat
I could disappear at will
leaving smiles behind.

‎January ‎9, ‎2014 5:47 AM

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

I've Come Back - Three Word Wednesday

Three Word Wednesday
Faithful; Isolate; Scrutinize

Tom Waits was singing and I picked it up...

I've Come Back

Oh it's time, time, time
for the faithful to declare
themselves as true blue,
and me, time. time, time
that I do not isolate,
no longer alone,
no longer delayed.
I know you scrutinize signs
and shadowy forms
of love's whispered sense
of grace. I shall stroke the strings
of my life for you.

‎January 8, ‎2014 8:22 AM

Sunday, January 5, 2014

It's A New Year - A Magpie Tale

"New York At Night" photo by Vivienne Gucwa, chosen by Tess at The Mag 201 as a creative prompt for those who love to work and love to read.

It's A New Year

I walk the late streets,
the shiny streets, water slicked
with much less traffic
than at noon for sure.
The time is perfect for me
to think of the way
you would look at me
in those other moonlit nights,
so far away now,
navigated lanes
of time peeled back leaving raw
shapes of bone and hair.
It must be love, dear.
I don't understand this love
nor stone truth be known
do I understand
any other or life either
though I must live it.

‎January ‎5, ‎2014 9:37 AM

After The Storm

What I might expect
from the whistle bit caress
of the spare scarlet
sky behind the sun
struck down in my wan first pair
of eyes caught weeping
though I tried to keep
the dream I thought would save me,
where I might have been
is just not where I am, not
this weird sunken day.
Ain't it grand the wind
stopped blowing, you said, shaken.
Be glad we're still here.

‎January ‎5, ‎2014 8:09 AM

Written for The Sunday Whirl by Brenda Warren
Look for these words:

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Hard Luck

While the story alluded to in the poem is all too common it is not my story. I chose not to have children. However, I know many people who do have this story and it's a painful one, I think we all agree. Things get very tangled and confused and a parent who loses his child is very close to despair or murderous rage. There is no pain like this one. I believe it's very difficult for many to see their own contribution to the mess in the middle of the suffering that losing one's child entails. This is my father's story.

I reconnected with my father a few years before he died. At one point I asked about his marriage to my mother and got such a heated response that I stopped talking about it. I was nearly 60 years old at this time. After all that time my father was still deeply disturbed by what had occurred and he offered to tell me about it. I of course knew the story from my mother's side.

My mother divorced my father citing I believe irreconcilable differences. She was given a modest child support which my father unfailingly sent for the first 18 years of my life. At the beginning of their divorce he would come and pick me up on Sundays and take me a variety of places where we spent our time together. I recall the MG that he drove. When my stepfather began to court my mother in earnest, my father began to pull back. When the new marriage was close, he stopped visiting with me altogether.

I do not recall ever being aware as a small boy of hostility between them. All this took place in the very early 1950s. 50 years later, my father was still plenty hostile. It was apparent that he felt my mother cheated him out of his firstborn son. He went on, married again, and built another family. He had two more sons.

Hard Luck

I would look where you
pointed if I had courage
but it has leaked out
the holes left in me
by my poor choices after
she told those stories.
I chose to run, hide,
fight losing battles with ghosts
of all my losses,
with the harsh moment
of dread she left me in place
of my first born son.

Written September 3, 2010 9:01 AM
Modified January 4, 2014 9:32 PM

Wiki says: Wystan Hugh Auden (21 February 1907 – 29 September 1973), who published as W. H. Auden, was an Anglo-American poet, born in England, later an American citizen, regarded by many critics as one of the greatest writers of the 20th century. His work is noted for its stylistic and technical achievements, its engagement with moral and political issues, and its variety of tone, form and content. The central themes of his poetry are love, politics and citizenship, religion and morals, and the relationship between unique human beings and the anonymous, impersonal world of nature.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Said Three Ways

Said Three Ways

I am so scattered
these days, as if someone drew
through me with a rake.

It's like I am spilt
corn across the road waiting
to be ground to dust.

You were my heart's glue.
You have taken me apart
with a turn and glance.

September 3, 2010 8:48 AM

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Stranded At The Bus Stop - Reprise

I am a thief. I am not a brave thief nor all that clever but I am sneaky and a fair actor so I don't really look like a thief, ever. That I am a thief is no more true than it is in my spiritual life. Don't act surprised. The Divine Thief is central to spiritual life and that character appears in full maturity at least as early as the ancient Greeks, who had Prometheus stealing fire from the Gods for men, many stories of necessary thefts, and Hermes as the Divine Messenger who was also the Divine Thief. Thus it is. I am a thief. I am still spiritual, still devoted, still accepted. I have that confidence.

Wait a minute. Hermes is the Divine Messenger. Communication is thievery. I hardly ever behave as a thief anymore. I have nothing I need and do not need the thrill either. I have not actually stolen anything for a long time. The last time I did so, I stole to test if I still had a thief's heart. I stole a small item, a common thing often stolen from stores, as I would well know. I did not get caught just as I have never gotten caught. I slept just fine that night. I am still a sneak, still a thief.

However I write and write and write. Communication is thievery. I will not try and explain that. I suspect it has something to do with the Divine Power accessed through words. It has something to do with true Magic. To be mortal man and access Divine Power at will is to be a thief, always. Ancient wisdom. I will say no more.

So I am a poet, an artist. That is the current incarnation of my thievery. The biggest context is art in general. Art is communication and itself through and through thievery, stealing the power of god in mortal frames.

The Divine Messenger is a Thief. Both aspects are central. The messenger is a servant. What is true of my position in God's World, I snuck in, stole my way in. The way open was the servant's entrance, and yet I am not really God's Servant. Back on May 31, 2010, I first posted about this. Nothing has changed since November 14, 1966, when I committed my Divine Theft.

In 2010, I wrote:

"I snuck in the servant’s entrance. Along with that, I say I made a decision to prove a point in [a thief's - today's upgrade] argument with God, why I have come, but how I got here, the bus let me off and I have been waiting ever since for it to come back and pick me up. I am sort of deflated. I think I will die waiting."

Nothing has changed. God placed me at this stop, a consequence. There are always consequences.

Stranded At The Bus Stop

I sit on this bench
here at the bus stop waiting
hoping for the bus
to come and worried
if this transfer is still good
or now out of date,
too old, me too old,
so even if the bus does
come it won't be mine.

Written June 2, 2009 9:16 AM
First Posted May 31, 2010

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